Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, right, revealed in June that his ancestors had been slaveowners. (Photo: VCU CNS/Flickr/cc)

Virginia GOP Rebuked for Casting Democrat as "Race Traitor" Over Statue Stance

State Republican Party accused Lt. Gov. Northam of betraying "his heritage"

Julia Conley

Virginia's Republican Party was under fire Thursday after posting on its official Twitter account an accusation that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam had "turned his back" on his heritage by supporting the removal of Confederate monuments.

The tweets were widely interpreted as a reference to Northam's great-great-grandfather, who was a slaveowner. The posts were up for four hours on Wednesday before being deleted—enough time for harsh criticism to pour in.

In the New Republic, Sarah Jones said the tweets had amounted to the GOP calling Northam a "race traitor."

"Northam is not the only white descendant of Southern slaveowners to object to Confederate monuments," Jones said. "The descendants of Stonewall Jackson have recently done the same. 'Heritage' is a racist dog-whistle because our heritage is racist, which is precisely why it must be publicly repudiated. And in doing so, those descendants do not turn their backs to their heritage. They confront it, and tell the truth."

Former Republican delegate David Ramadan was also among those who denounced the tweets, asking the Party, "Have you lost your minds—who is in control of your Twitter account?"

Northam himself appeared nonplussed by the accusation and remained firm in his stance that Confederate statues should be removed from public property as he questioned the stance of his Republican opponent, former Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie.

In June, Northam, Virginia's current lieutenant governor, revealed his family's history of slave-ownership, telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The news that my ancestors owned slaves disturbs and saddens me...My family's complicated story is similar to Virginia’s complex history. We're a progressive state, but we once had the largest number of slaves in the union."

The Virginia GOP apologized for the tweets after wiping them from its account, saying that they "had been interpreted in a way we never intended." In response, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters noted the hypocrisy of deleting the messages while fighting against the removal of monuments.

Virginia's Republican party is no stranger to accusations of bigotry. In 2013, state chairman John Whitbeck, then chairman of the 10th District Republican Committee, was forced to apologize to anyone offended by an anti-Semitic joke he told at a rally.

Just over half of Virginians want the state's 200 Confederate statues to remain on public property, according to a poll released Tuesday by MassInc. Fifty-two percent of Democrats think they should stay, versus 81 percent of Republicans in the state.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Tax Them All': Warren, Wyden Lead Push for Corporate Tax in Build Back Better Act

"Giant corporations have been exploiting tax loopholes for too long, and it's about time they pay their fair share to help run this country, just like everyone else," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Julia Conley ·

'Not Just Immoral, Deadly': How Corporate Lobbyists Ramped Up Spending Ahead of COP26

"The fossil fuel lobby's grimy fingerprints are all over yet another congressional deadlock on meaningful climate action," warned one campaigner.

Jon Queally ·

Watch: Bernie Sanders Argues 'We Must End the Greed of Big Pharma'

The live address comes as the Senate Budget Committee chair continues to push for including Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better package.

Common Dreams staff ·

Reconciliation Framework 'Not Enough' to Push Through Infrastructure Bill, Progressives Warn

"We need to have a vote ready for the Build Back Better plan, not a framework," insisted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "We want to have both of these votes together."

Brett Wilkins ·

McDonald's Workers Join 'Striketober' and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

One striker participated because "McDonald's still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo