Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) is standing by the remarks he made yesterday that the Obamas are part of an “elitist-class…that thinks that they’re uppity.” According to the AP, Westmoreland says that he was unaware that the word was offensive:
In a statement Friday, Westmoreland – who was born in 1950 and raised in the segregated South – said he didn’t know that “uppity” was commonly used as a derogatory term for blacks seeking equal treatment. Instead, he referred to the dictionary definition of the word as describing someone who is haughty, snobbish or has inflated self-esteem.
“He stands by that characterization and thinks it accurately describes the Democratic nominee,” said Brian Robinson, Westmoreland’s spokesman. “He was unaware that the word had racial overtones and he had absolutely no intention of using a word that can be considered offensive.”
As the AP also notes, last year, Westmoreland “led opposition to renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also was one of two House members last year who opposed g i ving the Justice Department more money to crack unsolved civil rights killings.”
The Washington Post’s Jonathan Weisman isn’t buying Westmoreland’s excuse:
Having grown up in Atlanta, very near where Rep. Lynn Westmoreland grew up, I can say pretty unequivocally that there is no way a native Georgian could not have known the racial context of that word. Georgia in the 60s and 70s was a study in black and white (it’s much more diverse now), and racial subtexts were everywhere. I do not buy his defense.