Sen. Vicki Marble was speaking in a hearing on the legislature's Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, where they examined statistics behind racial disparity in the poverty rate.
“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: 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,” Marble said.
“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 love it.
Marble also mentioned how she thought Mexicans ate vegetables in Mexico but stopped eating healthily when they immigrated to the United States.
She continued, adding “alcoholics, rageoholics, drug addicts, you have people, they say, who are addicted to porn” to the list.
Democratic state Sen. Evie Hudak, who also attended the hearing, said that “there was an audible gasp in the room.”
Rep. Rhonda Fields responded immediately during the hearing.
“The title for this committee is the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force; and one of the things I will not tolerate is racist and insensitive comments about African Americans, the color of their skin. You mentioned what we eat -- I was highly offended by your remarks,” Fields said, addressing Marble directly.
“I will not engage in a dialogue where I’m in the company where you are using the stereotype references about African Americans and chicken and food and all kinds of things. I will just not tolerate that.
“This is not what this committee is all about. So I will ask that you suspend your perceptions and judgments about African Americans, about poverty -- what we’re trying to do is come up with solutions and it’s not about chicken.
“It’s not about eating chicken.”
On Thursday, the Denver Post editorial board weighed in, calling Marble’s comments “finger-lickin’ stupid.”
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