This week at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) accused his colleague Rep. Steve King (R-IA) of “white privilege” during a heated exchange.
When King compared the violent death rate in El Salvador to the homicide rate in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Richmond expressed his displeasure.
Richmond said, “We’re going to lose all civility in this committee if he thinks it’s appropriate to compare New Orleans to Guatemala.”
Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) tried to calm the situation by saying, “The gentleman from Iowa has the right to make a statistical comparison between two locations.”
Richmond continued, “You are comparing the people in the location—that would be like me comparing him to somebody in the Klan. I don’t have the basis to do that.”
Richmond then raised his voice as he said, “I am not going to sit here and let him do that to the people I love, and the people I respect and—I live in New Orleans. If the gentleman persists on it, then let’s go in the back and have the conversation about New Orleans. But I am not going to sit here and do this. If it takes walking across over there, then I’m prepared to do that, too. But It’s not appropriate. It’s insensitive. And it’s nothing more than traditional white privilege of ‘let me criticize a minority city.’ Now take it how you want. I’m telling you how I feel.”
Goodlatte said Richmond is entitled to his feelings but so is King.
King said, “I would suggest that if the gentleman can’t participate in an open discussion on this, it might be better for one of us, that would be particularly you, the gentleman from Louisiana, to remove himself from the room if he can’t restrain himself.”
Goodlatte told King, “That remark is not appropriate.”
King resumed by saying, “I will go back to the data. I will not be intimidated by this kind of thing. It’s important that we look at data.”
(h/t The Hill)
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