Colorado lawmaker accused of racist remarks

9:00 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Sparks flew during a meeting of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force between two state legislators.

The heated exchange happened when State Senator Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) made comments about minority women and the infant mortality rate.

"When you look at life expectancy, there's certain problems in the black race. Sickle cell is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that is prevalent in the genetic makeup. Although I gotta say, I've never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life then when you go down south, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it," Marble said.

After Marble's comments, State Representative Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) responded by saying that Marble's statements were offensive and stereotypical.

"One of the things I will not tolerate is racist and incentive remarks about African Americans, the color of their skin, what you mentioned that we eat. I was highly offended by your remarks, and I will not engage in a dialogue where you are using these stereotypical references about African-Americans and chicken and food. I just will not tolerate that. This is not what this committee is all about. So I would ask that you suspend your perceptions and judgments about African-Americans about poverty. What we're trying to do is to come up with meaningful solutions. It's not about eating chicken."

The chair of the task force called an immediate recess for everyone to take a few deep breaths before the meeting continued.

Fields left the meeting early, but 9NEWS spoke with Marble. She said her comments were taken out of context. She also said there is not anything wrong with what she said.

"It's not racist. It's bringing out the facts so that you can be aware and take better care of yourself. I do weddings and do BBQ's. That's my favorite. Anywhere you go for a political thing it's BBQ. We love it," Marble told 9NEWS.

Senator Marble said she hasn't talked to Rep. Fields since their exchange.

Representative Fields said speaking about African Americans and food is not relevant to the discussion. She said her comments on that audio tape speak for themselves.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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