NBCSL Condemns the Use of Racial Slurs by Legislators

“The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBSCL) stands in support of Arizona State Representatives Reginald Bolding and Geraldine Peten for condemning the use of the “N-word” by a sitting legislator in a media article and oppose the Arizona House of Representatives decision to silence these public servants for speaking out against the use of this derogatory term by a White state legislator. 

Given the history of our nation, it is incomprehensible that a sitting lawmaker would use a word that has inflicted so much pain and indignity on Black Americans. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, but rather a pattern of behavior observed in statehouses across the nation. For example, West Virginia House Del. Saira Blair used the racial slur in a video created after she was elected to office and Florida State Sen. Frank Artiles used the derogatory term to describe other Florida State Senators. This is unacceptable.

Moreover, NBCSL insists that state legislatures never silence African-American legislators that condemn the use of the “N-word.” By voting to silence Rep. Bolding and Rep. Peten, Arizona’s only two African-American state legislators, the Arizona House of Representatives disregarded the concerns of the thousands of African-Americans in Arizona and seemed to ratify the behavior of Rep. Syms.

Given the divisive rhetoric that we hear from politicians on all levels of government, it is more important now than ever before to ensure a diverse group of voices are able to speak out against injustice—especially when it happens in the halls of government. NBCSL and its members will continue to condemn the use of this racial slur by legislators and work to improve relations between communities of different races within America.”