Race & Identity
Tennesseans Want Its Young State Representative-Elect To Resign For Calling The Southern State 'Racist'
Backlash pressured her into retracting her statement.
The youngest incoming Tennessee House state representative apologized for calling her home state racist in a Facebook Live video.
London Lamar spoke to District 91 constituents in a now-deleted Facebook Live video following her November 6 win. The uncontested Memphis Democrat discussed the political demographics in the state and mentioned President Donald Trump's influence on the national political discourse.
According to local news outlet WREG, she called Tennesseans racist for their support of Trump and his policies.
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“Tennessee’s racist. Period. Period,” Lamar said in the video. “Most of the Tennesseans who voted Republican are uneducated.”
Lamar also said a large number of white male voters supported white supremacy.
"White men voted Republican over -- well over 60 or 70 percent, so obviously that's a particular base of people who believe in superiority," she continued.
Days after her controversial video, Lamar told WREG she didn't intend to generalize Republicans.
"We want to make sure we don't over-generalize groups of people. For that, we sincerely apologize," she said. "I think Tennessee is very polarized, and I think that we need to continue to have conversations about how Tennessee can work on behalf of everybody."
However, she didn't waver on the issue of white supremacy. She added there are people who support Trump and indulge in racist rhetoric.
"I think Tennessee has people who may identify with rhetoric that leans towards that way, and I think we are a very racially polarized state," Lamar said.
Lamar wrote a more thorough Facebook post responding to criticisms and clarifying the remarks made in the video. The first accusations of racism were allegedly made by a conservative news outlet The Tennessee Star.
"We live in a state that is very racially polarized. When you look at the needs of rural west, middle and east, the democratic values speaks to their needs," she wrote on Facebook.
"I sincerely desire for the great state of Tennessee to give the democratic values a chance to work for all people," Lamar continued. "I want nothing more to work across the aisle to assure that every Tennessean has the opportunity to fully enjoy what our great state has to offer."
Despite this, critics have called for her to step down. Many claim her bias will impede her ability to represent everyone.
A person with that attitude should not be in the House of Representatives in the state that she trashed on Facebook. Then deleted. If you say it stand by it. Don’t chicken out. #LondonLamar— p2s (@p2tews) November 13, 2018'
Supporters have continued to stand by Lamar and have praised her for speaking on the racism in the state.
I live here and can say with zero doubt that she is 100% correct— C (@thylocene) November 14, 2018'
Lamar has no plans to step down.
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