Vickie Marble, a Republican state senator from Colorado, claims she didn’t mean to offend African Americans when she said black people are living in poverty, in part, because they eat too much fried chicken.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” Marble said during a meeting of the legislature’s Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. “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. Everybody loves it.”

Too late. I’m offended. Since when did eating fried chicken become associated with poverty and sickle cell anemia? And why are so many Republicans so ignorant when it comes to issues of race – and with black Americans in particular?

State Rep. Rhonda Fields (D) said she was offended, too: “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, who is African American, told Marble. “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.”

For many black Americans, Marble is a small-time, perhaps inconsequential, state legislator who doesn’t deserve mention. But here’s the bigger picture: Marble’s racially bonehead comments come as the Republican Party is rolling out a well-funded national campaign to attract African Americans and people of color to the Republican Party before the 2016 presidential election. I seriously hope Marble isn’t on the GOP’s minority welcoming committee, and, if she is, I hope she’s not in charge of bringing snacks.

It’s a hard sell for overwhelmingly white Republicans to convince black Americans to bolt from the Democratic Party and take a chance on Republicans who don’t have a single racial minority among the 20 most senior members of the Republican National Committee or the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“If you’re trying to court African American voters, it’s much better to have an African American in the room talking about how these outreach policies are going to be implemented,” said former RNC chair Michael Steele, the first African American to hold that position. “They have an appreciation and understanding of what the issues are, how the language is being interpreted, and what takeaway they will get from your visit.”

“These institutions are old, they’re stale, and they’re crumbling,” Steele said. “We can either shore them up with faces that look a lot like mine, like Marco Rubio’s, like Susana Martinez’s, or they can crumble and go to dust.”

But Republicans are hoping that Raffi Williams, the 24-year-old son of Fox News commentator Juan Williams, will help change attitudes in his new position as deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee.

“I think it’s a slow process. If you expect us to get a ridiculous amount of African mericans in the next election, that’s not going to happen probably,” Raffi, a rising star in the Republican Party, told reporters.  “But we can start to make inroads, and the more inclusive we are as a party, the better optics we get to other demographics as well — not just African Americans — and that helps us in the long run.”

Only time will tell if Williams can help the Republican Party connect with black voters. Black Enterprise just named him one of “10 Black Republicans You Probably Don’t Know But Should.”

NAACP Colorado Political Action Director James Johnson told reporters that Marble was guilty of reinforcing racial stereotypes, at the very least.

“To bring it down to fried chicken and BBQ is insulting not just to a race of people but to all the people of Colorado,” Johnson said. “This task force is doing good work to address poverty, but these comments are a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Marble released a statement claiming that her racist remarks were taken out of context, and not meant to disparage any community.

Marble’s comments were not taken out of context; she knew exactly what she was saying – and she said it anyway. There was no real outrage from Republicans anywhere – not even from Raffi Williams.

If the Republican Party has any shot at all at wooing black voters, the GOP needs to start by calling out people like Marble when they make racists comments.

So far, the GOP campaign to court black voters is – as usual – long on marketing and short on substance.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, and it’s something that’s really exciting to me.” Williams told reporters. “The RNC is really trying to do great things and reach new communities, and I want to be on the ground level of that.”

“The challenge is, in the recent past the Republican Party hasn’t done a great job of reaching out to minority communities,” he said. “We’re going to have to start rebuilding that, and start really engaging with these communities. … We haven’t really done much more than lip service.”

For once, I agree.

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17 thoughts on “ANALYSIS: Colorado Republican: Blacks Are Poor Because They Eat Fried Chicken

  1. Come on!!!.
    Now black people forget aaaall Harry Reid’s, bj clinton coments.
    How about all the black leaders. Sharpton, Jackson o Farrahcon????
    Or how about all the black movies where there is a white person in the story.
    Black people are as racist or more than withes(Mitchelles word).
    Im hispanic and we have our share of racism too.

  2. Our Colorado officials have truly gotten out of hand, as this story is NOT over.
    Just this past Thursday, September 5th, Republican Lori Saine brought in a box of fried chicken and gave it to Vicki Marble. When a reporter asked Marble what Saine had given her, Marble blatantly LIED and said, “Nothing. …she didn’t give me anything.” (They SHOWED Saine giving Marble the box of chicken!) Sometime later that evening, Saine went on Twitter and made fun. State Republican Party Chairman, Ryan Call said it is not funny, and wants an apology.

    Marble’s apology was so flimsy that she might as well have said, ‘I am sorry people are offended that I correlate chicken with Blacks.’ I have yet to hear Saine’s apology, but if it is anything like Marble’s, then she can save her breath.

  3. Marjorie Causey on said:

    What about the “Whites” that eat FRIED CHICKEN??? I live in Louisville, KY the headquarters for KFC. I feel missy needs to enroll in Diversity Training that includes all ethnic backgrounds.

  4. When Senator Marble began her speech, I felt there was nothing wrong with what she said, but then it seems as though she begins to emphatically ramble and ultimately, in my opinion, says something that is offensive. She should have stopped after she said, “When you look at life expectancy, there’s certain problems in the black race. Sickle cell is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that is prevalent in the genetic makeup.”
    There is nothing offensive about that remark, but her thought process waned, which ultimately pictured her as using a racist remark. Often times when we forget the topic and/or feel inclined to freely talk off topic, we usually reveal our personal thoughts; this is what Marble did and here we are. I do not believe she is racist, but a little inconstant; I hope that next time she sticks to the topic and not share her personal thoughts. Alternatively, if she HAD considered what she said, she would have known that it is NOT true about Blacks and Southern foods, as there is more than just one Paula Deen. (SMH)
    As she continues to talk, it is clear that our government is STILL wasting our money on frivolous nonsense! OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SHOULD BE ASHAMED…but I know better.

  5. Why are RepbubliKLANS so stupid? Blacks are SICK because we eat so much unhealthy food, such as fried chicken, mac and cheese and coca cola. Blacks, with an annual income of $1 Trillion dollars, are not poor, just uneducated concerning diet and poverty producing spending habits.

  6. Rosco "P" Coaltrain on said:

    Wow….And is this how they are going to get more blacks, Latinos and others to switch to their party.
    They are showing that the entire party shoudl be called RepubliKLANS. I don’t care who they get to represent people of color…I won’t become a RepubliKLAN

  7. Ghost_Rider on said:

    It is sad in this day and age when an elected official can allow such stupidly insensitive comments to part her lips. There is no doubt that she rehearsed what she said before she said it. It probably sounded good while it rattled around in her apparently empty brain. If she is forced to resign because of her comments, she has a promising career with the Fox News Network, where she is free to offend people on a global scale. She seems prepped and ready to go. When will we learn that regardless of race, we simply can’t make insensitive and stupid comments, especially in the face of those who may be offended? Shame on you Vickie Marble!! It’s one thing to spew that garbage behind closed doors, but it’s quite another to be bold enough to do it in the public. But we all know that the mouth speaks….

  8. According to her quote she was commenting on the good food she eats when she goes
    down south (I eat good when I go down south) the interesting thing is PETA and
    Vegans would agree with her on the health issue. But again VP Joe Bidden comments on
    not going to a gas station or convince store with out being able to speak Arabic

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