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Tipsheet

Immigrant TN Rep Says First Time He Was Called a Racial Slur Came From Ousted Dem Colleague

AP Photo/George Walker IV

Tennessee state Rep. Sabi Kumar, an Indian immigrant, said the first time in his 53 years in this county he’s been called a racial slur was by his expelled colleague, Democrat Justin Jones. 

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“I am an immigrant, everybody knows,” he said last week ahead of the vote to expel Jones over his role in a gun control protest on the House floor. “I have been in this country for 53 years, and when it was 50 years, you recognized me for that. It was a celebration in my mind and for my family.

“In those 53 years in America, I have never encountered a racial slur,” he continued. “I’m really not aware that any of that applies to me. I live a good life. Yet you on tape call me a brown face. Yessir, it’s on tape.”

Kumar said Jones also got in his face, prompting the sergeant-at-arms to intervene. 

“You walked up to me, you had no business coming up to me, you were sitting a row or two ahead of me,” he said. “You shoved your finger in my face and said, ‘Kumar, they will never accept you.’ You said it twice. And you were so intimidating that the sergeant-at-arms without my invitation came and intervened between us. Sir, that is very disappointing.”

Jones said he took issue with being asked to assimilate. 

“There’s a lot to unpack there, Representative Kumar,” he said in response. “I don’t even know where to start, to be honest. I mean, it’s sad what you just stated to me, and that’s what this is really about. He said ‘You see everything under the lens of race, when you join this body, you should just become one of us. Just assimilate.’

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“That’s very disappointing to hear, my friend,” Jones added. “And what I told you was, what you just exhibited, as the only member of their caucus that’s not of the Caucasian persuasion, I said that you put a brown face on white supremacy. That’s what I said.”

During an appearance on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Kumar explained that the expelled representatives created the situation for their own purposes. “It was not about any solutions. It was not about sympathy and mourning and other things that needed to be done. They took it as an opportunity for political purposes to demonstrate and mobilize for political purposes,” he said, adding that they took the House “hostage.” 

Lawmakers voted last week to oust Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson from the House. 

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