Legislator Fights Charges Of Racial Insensitivity: My Black Friends Taught Me To Smoke Meat


Last August, Colorado State Sen. Vicki Marble (R) delivered a long monologue suggesting that the reason for poverty among certain minority groups was that they eat too much chicken and barbecue. In an interview Monday, she defended her controversial remarks against “sensitivities” and notied that her “black friends in Texas” taught her how to smoke meat.

In her new comments this week, Marble told the Colorado Statesman that the people can be too sensitive to minority groups:

MARBLE: We can’t force them to stop doing what they choose to do, but to give them the information. These are our families and our neighbors in the black community… Honestly, I learned how to smoke meat from my black friends down in Texas because they lived with me… and stayed at my house… Did we talk about cooking? Yes. The whole time.

Marble ironically concluded her comments by criticizing racial stereotyping. “If there’s sensitivities, that’s the way it is. People aren’t all the same. You don’t just cookie-cutter them out and say, ‘You have to listen to this’. But it would be nice to have an honest conversation to help educate them on what is actually happening and to prevent that with diet and exercise.”

Marble’s original comments, at a meeting of the state’s Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, focused on statistics about racial disparities in the poverty rate. Marble claimed that the studies ignored drug addiction and poor diets common among Latino- and African-American families. “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: 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,” she observed. She also noted, “I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I mean love it and everybody loves it,” and that, “The Mexican diet in Mexico with all of the fresh vegetables. And you go down there and they’re much thinner than when they come up here… they change their diet.” A July 2013 study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that obesity rates are actually higher in Mexico than in the United States.

Earlier this month, Marble filed a bill to ensure that no food stamps or public assistance funds are used at shops that legally sell marijuana. The bill came after a county Republican party committee mistook a satirical news report for fact.