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Thursday, August 22, 2013

CO Republican blames poverty on ‘the black race’s’ love of fried chicken

Sign for chicken restaurant
FOX31 Denver: Democratic lawmakers couldn’t believe their ears as they listened to Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, deliver a long soliloquy explaining that more blacks and Hispanics live in poverty, in part, because of fried chicken.

The comments came during a meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force Wednesday at the Capitol as lawmakers on the committee were presented with a number of statistics highlighting racial disparities in the poverty rate.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it,” Marble said. “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it.”
Democrat Sen. Evie Hudak said, “there was an audible gasp in the room.”

Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, who is African-American, spoke of the incident and did not have kind things to say about her arguments.

“The title for this committee is the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force; and one of the things I will not tolerate is racist and insensitive comments about African Americans, the color of their skin. You mentioned what we eat — I was highly offended by your remarks,” Fields said, addressing Marble directly.

“I will not engage in a dialogue where I’m in the company where you are using the stereotype references about African Americans and chicken and food and all kinds of things. I will just not tolerate that,” Fields continued.

“This is not what this committee is all about. So I will ask that you suspend your perceptions and judgments about African Americans, about poverty — what we’re trying to do is come up with solutions and it’s not about chicken.

“It’s not about eating chicken.”
Marble released the far too familiar Republican non-apology for her remarks. “My comments were not meant to be disparaging to any community,” she said in a statement. “I am saddened they were taken in that regard. I take my responsibility seriously and I hope our work on this committee will offer real solutions to the health and financial challenges of our vulnerable populations.”

Translation: “If you thought that was racist, I’m sorry that you’re imagining things.” But this is just so common among Republicans. They always blame poverty on the poor. And isn’t it interesting that when the subject is the crappy food that’s all you can afford on food stamps, nutrition is not an issue. But when you want to blame poverty on the choices people make, nutrition is totally an issue?

Luckily, given the response to her remarks, I don’t think we’ll see Marble’s arguments again. They’re going to have to think up some new angle to blame poverty on the poor. Perhaps one that recognizes that most people in poverty are white. And they aren’t poor because they love them some frozen pizza so much.

[photo by Thomas Hawk]

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