DENVER (AP) — A Colorado Republican state senator is being criticized for making stereotypical remarks about black people eating chicken during a legislative meeting analyzing poverty trends.
Sen. Vicki Marble of Fort Collins apologized for her remarks a few hours after she made them Wednesday, but she had already drawn the condemnation of fellow lawmakers.
Marble's comments came while she was taking about health issues that black people face.
"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. Although I've got to say, I've never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it and everybody loves it," she said.
Marble went on to say that Mexicans have a healthier diet in their country because they eat fresh vegetables.
"You go down there and they are much thinner than they are up here. They change their diet. I've read studies on that, they become Americanized," she said.
During the meeting, Aurora Rep. Rhonda Fields, a black lawmaker, told Marble she was offended by her comments, The Denver Post reported (http://tinyurl.com/kxrwy4k ).
"I will not engage in a dialogue where you are using these stereotypical references about African-Americans and chicken and food. I will not tolerate that. This is not what this committee is all about," she said.
Before Marble could respond, Fort Collins Sen. John Kefalas, who is chairing the committee, called for a recess. The committee is the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force and has been meeting during the summer to look at racial disparities and poverty.
KDVR-TV first reported Marble's comments.
Marble later put out a statement apologizing.
"My comments were not meant to be disparaging to any community. I am saddened they were taken in that regard," she said. "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."
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com