Clarence Thomas called 'Uncle Tom' during Georgia statue vote

 February 16, 2023

A Georgia state lawmaker called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an "Uncle Tom" during debate about installing a statue of Thomas on the state capital grounds in Altanta. 

Thomas is a Georgia native who was born in Pin Point, grew up poor during the Jim Crow era. He experienced discrimination as a child, but was also attacked during his confirmation hearings because he was conservative.

He made it onto the court, but has continued to stir controversy for his conservative views, including pro-life and anti-affirmative action stances.

State Sen. Emmanuel Jones (D) used the racist and derogatory term to refer to Thomas ahead of the vote, and also said the justice "sold his soul to the slave master.”

"Y'all just don't get it"

“There’s a whole laundry list of positions that Justice Thomas has taken that I find offensive,” Jones went on.

He also said, “Y’all just don’t get it. And I don’t expect people of non-color to get the sensitivity that we feel.”

Oh, I think people get it. In the world of Democrats, it's perfectly acceptable to say hateful things about Black people if they are Republicans, even though the opposite would be the furthest thing from acceptable.

Vote passes

While Democrats don't want to see Thomas honored with a statue, the vote to do so passed 32-30 along party lines.

“This native son of Georgia deserves a place of honor and recognition on our Capitol grounds, a place where future generations of Georgians can learn valuable lessons from his legacy and gain inspiration and belief that their lofty dreams are obtainable too in America, regardless of the circumstances into which they are born,” Sen. Ben Watson of the Savannah area told senators.

The measure will now go to the state House. Republicans have the majority in the 180-seat House, but it is unclear whether there is support and interest for the statue there.

Amendment pulled

Democrats considered amending the bill to add a provision that a statue of longtime Rep. John Lewis (D) also be erected, but decided to pull that amendment so it wouldn't make Democrats' decisions about how to vote more difficult.

A concurrent resolution to add a statue of former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R) also passed along party lines. Although Loeffler was defeated by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in 2020, she is credited with work on behalf of conservative women lawmakers.


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