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Chris Smith jokes about NAACP "white people"

A day after NAACP member Leon Russell wrote a letter raising concerns about a new redistricting amendment proposed by legislative leaders, Sen. Frederica Wilson asked some fellow black lawmakers today what they thought.

Sen. Chris Smith quipped: "Is he black?"

Smith went on to note that, in committee meetings this year, the NAACP was represented by "white people." He said some of the black lawmakers got a chuckle out of that. Smith said he doesn't support the NAACP's position on the proposed constitutional amendment by the group FairDistricts, which seeks to weaken the power of the Legislature over drawing some legislative and congressional political boundaries. Smith said he doesn't support a rival amendment proposed initially by Republican lawmakers.

Smith said the current case law and system works fine, though he acknowledged that there's an imbalance in the number of Republican seats when compared to the number of Republican voters in the state.

While the issues of redistricting often boil down to questions of race, the politics in the Capitol aren't so black and white. The leader of the black caucus, Sen. Gary Siplin of Orlando, said he's a co-sponsor of the legislative redistricting amendment. He said he worries the FairDistricts amendment could some endanger minority-majority seats.

As a co-sponsor of the new amendment, then, Siplin is being indirectly accused in Russell's letter of not caring about minority voting rights. What's he think of that?

"What do you think of that?" Siplin countered (tough getting answers this morning). "You know my record around here for the last ten years." Siplin did say he was going to try to improve the legislative amendment in today's redistricting committee meeting. More later.

Comments

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Casey

OK, first let me say that I really like Chris Smith. But, that was a telling remark on his part and quite surprising.

What really bothers me though, is that this little blog will be the only mention of this remark. However, if a white legislator had said this and complained that they had sent only black people to talk to him, it would be screamed from every headline of every paper. The double standard only fuels feelings of animosity and it is time to put racist behaviors by both whites AND blacks to bed.

KD

NAACP is an organization that has outlived it's usefulness. Just the name "colored" is so 60's that no one will even say it!

Senator Chris Smith

I made a tongue and cheek remark to a fellow senator over breakfast. As a past Youth President of the NAACP I have worked many years alongside people of many races. I am very disturbed that the Miami Herald decided to eavesdrop on a private joke and report it as news.

Casey

Senator, you can work alongside of people of many races and still have racist feelings toward them. Would you come to the defense of a white person if the Hearald decided to eavesdrop on a private joke they made????

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