Blackface scandal ruins governor’s reputation


Used with permission: Wikimedia Commons

Former Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigns from his position after photos of him in blackface arose. After working for less than a month, his resignation cast a bad light on Gov. Ron DeSantis because of the neglect to condemn this act.

Jessie Larrinaga, Staff Writer

Michael Ertel resigned from his position of Florida Secretary of State Jan. 24 after pictures of him in blackface arose from a Halloween party in 2005.  

The photos were released on the same day that Ertel announced his resignation – less than a month after he was selected by the new governor Ron DeSantis. 

Not only is blackface a horrendous and extremely hurtful form of racism, the fact that Ertel’s shirt had “Katrina victim” scrawled in paint is another offensive display. This photo was taken only two months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and devastatingly ruined the lives of many Americans.  

The photo of Ertel has had major backlash against DeSantis. DeSantis appointed him to the job a month after winning the race for governor. 

DeSantis was elected as governor as opposed to Andrew Gillum, who would have been the first black governor in Florida history, and whose progressive beliefs challenged DeSantis in many ways.  

DeSantis’ and his teams’ failure to investigate the background of Ertel is definitely a warning sign. If these are the kind of people he’s appointing, what does that say about his own morals and beliefs? 

To make the affair even more infuriating, DeSantis stated that he believed that the controversy was “unfortunate,” and several other Florida officials and legislators like Scott Plakon and Lee Constantine made claims of how Ertel’s resignation was a loss to the state. 

Rather than discussing why these actions are irreversible and completely unacceptable, DeSantis’ team seems to think that these issues are unimportant and should have been swept under the rug. 

If politicians and important figures in our society are sending the message that racism is okay, the very values that our country was built upon may very well be declared null and void.  

In fact, the suggestion that belittling the black people in America – who comprise 13.4 percent of the United States population according to the United States Census Bureau – is not an offense that should remove someone from a political office, is basically DeSantis saying that the voices of those people should not be heard.  

This isn’t the first time that DeSantis has taken a stance which stifles the inherent rights Americans are supposed to have.  

DeSantis has made several claims in the past showing his opposition to same-sex marriage. According to On the Issues, he said that he was against gay marriage Sept. 2012, and he said that government should respect faith-based opposition to same-sex marriage July 2015. 

Clearly DeSantis doesn’t take seriously the effects that racism and discrimination have on today’s society. Although Ertel resigned, that doesn’t mean that other officials under him don’t have the same views; it just means that we’re unaware of them.