An Indiana Republican state representative has been slammed for racist comments he made toward a Black orthopedic surgeon in Texas after telling the doctor that slavery was the ‘way of humanity’ before pondering whether he had any ‘minority scholarships’ to get through school.
James Carson, based in Houston, Texas, had responded to a March 23 post made on Rep. Jim Lucas’ (R-IN) Facebook page that included an interview defending the 2nd Amendment.
Soon the two engaged in a tense debate, with Carson commenting on the origins of the Constitution.
‘You know the constitution was written with people like me as slaves with no rights. Is that how it should be interpreted?’ Carson asked.
The Seymour politician responded: ‘The first slave owner in America was black, Blacks captured and sold blacks as slaves. Slavery is vile and repugnant, but has, and is tragically a way of humanity.’
Lucas would then use a quote from Frederick Douglas to show support for his argument, only the passage was from the abolitionists speech deriding the historically controversial Dred Scott decision.
The two continued going back and forth in their exchange, with Lucas then turning his attention to how Carson was able to get through schooling to become a doctor.
‘You say you’re a surgeon, congratulations on your accomplishment. Did you get any scholarships or financial assistance because of your skin color? Any minority scholarships?’
Carson quickly informed the politician that he was not only valedictorian of his high school but that he was also in the honors college.
‘Any more questions or do you want to discuss the constitution?’ he asked Lucas.
When reached by Indystar, Carson asserted that the exchange was racist in nature.
‘Beyond a doubt, not even thinly veiled, it’s pretty obviously racist to me,’ Carson declared. ‘The fact that he would even imply that I’ve gotten where I am in life through school, only because of my race, he doesn’t even do a good job of trying to hide it.’
Lucas claimed that his post were not racist but were actually factual.
‘There’s still slavery today in many countries, and it’s horrible. Slavery is horrible, it’s vile. Racism is vile and despicable,’ Lucas said. ‘And the people that keep generating the divisiveness by weaponizing the mere accusation of racism are vile and horrible and despicable.’
Scholars familiar with the history of slavery disagree with Lucas’ argument.
According to Joseph Lennis Tucker Edmonds, assistant professor of Africana Studies at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), while there were Black slave owners, their numbers were few.
He also said that these slave owners did not engage in the same form of slavery that their white counterparts did.
‘At first glance, it’s inaccurate and is trying to deny the connection between white racism and white supremacy and enslavement,’ Edmonds said. ‘If that’s the goal to deny that slavery and enslavement in this country is predicated upon white racism and white supremacy, then that is a very problematic, inflammatory and most likely racially divisive comment.’
The IndyStar reports that Lucas has a long history of making troubling comments, with calls from the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP for him to step down.
The Republican posted a meme in 2016 of a woman in the trunk of a car, along with the caption: ‘Wanna know who loves you more: your wife or your dog? Lock them both in your trunk and see who’s happy to see you when you let them out.’
In Jan. 2017, Lucas was slammed after he made another Facebook post following the Women’s March that occurred the day after the inauguration.
He would delete and apologize for both posts following criticism from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
In May 202, Lucas used a photo of Black kids dancing and the words ‘We gon’ get free money!’ to show his opposition to federal bailouts.
He would later claim that he found the picture of the kids dancing in a meme generator, eventually replacing it with a photo of himself but keeping the words.
Lucas was removed from two committees by House Speaker Huston last year after making controversial Facebook posts.
And on Twitter, the #LucasMustGo has become the norm as people call for him to resign.