OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican Oklahoma House member apologized to his colleagues on Tuesday for using a racist term to describe Black babies during a debate on the House floor.
Rep. Brad Boles, 37, a Republican from Marlow, used the term “colored” to describe Black babies during debate on an anti-abortion bill, while suggesting that abortion affects people of all races.
Boles later took a moment of personal privilege to apologize to his colleagues.
“We were debating a passionate bill, and through the slip of a tongue, I said a word that was not what it was intended to be,” Boles said. “And so I apologize for any of the members in the House or that listened online that I may have offended. I've had a chance to talk to several colleagues and offer my personal apologies. And so I’m truly sorry, and that was not my intent at all.”
John Estus, a spokesman for House Speaker Charles McCall, said he hadn’t discussed the issue with the Republican leader and didn’t know if Boles would face disciplinary action for the remark.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Alicia Andrews, who had called for Boles to publicly apologize, said she was disturbed that he would use the term at all.
“The term 'colored' doesn’t just fall out of your mouth by accident. It has to be a part of his local lexicon,” said Andrews, who is Black. "I’m disturbed that’s who represents us at the Capitol."
“Folks my grandmother’s age, those folks said it, and it’s been weeded out in the hearts of good people in the 60 years since.”
In 2013, a Republican Oklahoma lawmaker apologized for using an anti-Semitic term on the House floor, and in 2011, another Republican lawmaker was formally reprimanded after denigrating Black people and women during a debate on an affirmative action bill.