U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland referred last week to Barack and Michelle Obama as uppity a word used in the past by Southern racists to criticize blacks who rose above their station. It wasnt the first time the Republican congressman from just south of Atlanta put his foot in his mouth, particularly on a racially charged issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3673, the Second Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to Meet Immediate Needs Arising From the Consequences of Hurricane Katrina.
Westmorelands 2005 statement on the House floor against a Katrina relief bill
Well, theres one other do-nothing-er. I dont know who that is, but theyre a Democrat. So theres one Democratic do nothing-er, and one Republican.
Westmoreland, asked in 2006 by Comedys Centrals Stephen Colbert if he was a do-nothinger for failing to sponsor any legislation
Colbert: What are the 10 Commandments?
Westmoreland: Want me to name em all?
W: Dont murder. Dont lie. Dont steal. Uhhh. I cant name 'em all.
Exchange on the Colbert Report prompted by Westmorelands proposal to place the 10 Commandments in courthouses
"I'm not going to deny there weren't problems. But right now, if you look at those same communities where there were problems, those communities are controlled by minorities."
Westmoreland, arguing in 2005 that it was time to weaken the Voting Rights Act
"Todays signing will keep Georgia in the penalty box for 25 more years, even though weve righted the wrongs of our states Jim Crow past. We are proud of our record on equality in modern Georgia.
June 2006 statement, after Voting Rights Act passed with majority support from both parties
"He never said anything to me whether he was going to vote for it or against it. But with the makeup of his district and the history of Georgia, I thought he'd vote for it like all the other members of the Georgia delegation did."
Rep. John Lewis after Westmoreland was one of two congressmen to vote against federal investigations into Civil Rights era lynchings, June 2007
Just from what little Ive seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity. ... Uppity, yeah."
Westmoreland to The Hill newspaper Sept. 4
"Ive never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of uppity is affecting an air of inflated self-esteem snobbish. Thats what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up."
Westmoreland statement, Sept. 5
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