As much as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says he wants to lead a discussion on racial healing in the commonwealth, Virginia Tech’s Brandy Faulkner says he’s simply not prepared to have these very serious conversations.  

“Governor Northam is not capable of leading that conversation,” said Faulkner. “It's a very serious subject with a long and painful history across the entire state. Each time the governor speaks, he causes more harm.  Now is the time for him to take a step back, listen to those who have been directly affected by his words and actions, and acknowledge that he needs time to learn. A good leader must also be a good listener.”

Revelations about the past racist behavior by Virginia's governor, attorney general and a top state senator have touched a raw nerve, and are showing few signs of fading.

“We don't know what effect this will have on the next General Assembly elections, but I think there will be consequences,” said Faulkner. “But, it's still relatively early to know how severe those consequences will be. All eyes are on Virginia right now, and there is no doubt that the state's image is suffering.”

About Faulkner

Brandy Faulkner is a visiting assistant professor at Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her areas of specialization include constitutional and administrative law, race and public policy, and critical organization theory. She teaches courses in public administration, constitutional law, administrative law, research methods, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender. View her full bio here.

Faulkner’s expertise has been featured on NPR, Reuters, USA Today, and in the Atlanta Black Star.