Comments about African-American and Latino health, diet have no place in Colorado politics

Thursday, August 22, 2013
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms at [email protected]

DENVER: Responding to comments from Colorado Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Ft. Collins) during a session of the state Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, and her subsequent failure to apologize, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded Colorado Republican leadership condemn Marble’s shocking and unapologetic employment of racist stereotypes.

“The poverty reduction task force Sen. Marble serves on is about creating economic opportunities, not offensive nonsense about African Americans and chicken,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “It’s a disgrace to our entire state that these kinds of offensive stereotypes came from an elected Colorado lawmaker carrying out her official duties.”

Multiple Denver news outlets ran stories about Sen. Marble’s comments during yesterday’s poverty reduction hearing. “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” Marble said. “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 BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it.”

Sen. Marble went on to claim that “Mexicans in Mexico” are are “much thinner down there than they are up here.” 1

“Sen. Marble’s racist stereotypes are totally outrageous, and have no place in any legitimate debate about poverty in Colorado,” said Runyon-Harms. “So far, Sen. Marble has refused to apologize for her inaccurate and bigoted remarks, saying only that she is ‘saddened’ her remarks were taken in a way ‘disparaging to any community.’ But the gasps in the hearing room yesterday, as she evoked these plainly racist stereotypes about African Americans and Latinos, should have made it obvious to anyone that it was totally unacceptable.”

“Since Sen. Marble will not apologize, we call on Colorado Republican leaders to repudiate her statements,” said Runyon-Harms. “This isn’t the 1950s, and the people of Colorado deserve better from their elected leaders.”