Apparently some people can use racial slurs in politics

posted at 3:00 pm on December 17, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

This is one that slipped through the cracks during the week, but it’s worth a second look. Out in New Mexico we find the story of yet another elected official caught up in allegations of malfeasance, and then lashing out in a rather unusual way when they’re called on it. Presented for your consideration, the heartwarming story of state representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton.

A Democratic state legislator in New Mexico lashed out at a Republican colleague, attacking her as acting as a minion of the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, and referring to the governor in questionable terms.

Calling Martinez “the Mexican,” Democratic state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton reportedly shouted at Republican state Rep. Nora Espinoza.

The source of the dispute was an investigative news report that suggested Stapleton had behaved unethically. The piece aired on KRQE-TV in October, reporting that “for years, Stapleton did not take leave from her job as an administrator at the Albuquerque Public Schools system and received pay while attending legislative sessions.” Espinoza commented in the report.

Stapleton shouted at Espinoza during a committee break, according to Capitol Report New Mexico, and accused her of “carrying the Mexican’s water.”

Stapleton told Espinoza that she had been waiting for her and said, “I’m pissed,” later adding, “You said I’m corrupt. Prove it!”

After a while, even I get tired of playing this particular card, but can you imagine if it had been a white male Republican doing this? Referring to the Governor as “the Mexican?” The media would be in full blown, pearl clutching meltdown mode by now. But apparently this remains a “move along… nothing to see here” story.

So what does Representative Stapleton plan on doing about the original charges in the report? Particularly given her position as Majority Whip in the state house, I’m sure she’s going to set aside some of her duties until we can get to the bottom of it. Right?

In a news conference Thursday (Dec. 15) that took a couple odd turns, state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) apologized for angrily confronting Rep. Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) and saying Espinoza was “carrying the Mexican’s water on the fourth floor,” site of the offices of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in New Mexico’s state capitol building.

But despite calls from state Republicans, Stapleton said she would “absolutely not” step down from her position as Majority Whip in the state’s House of Representatives.

You’ll need to click through to the full article to read the rather amazing, incoherent, rambling non-apology that she issued to the Governor, the House and her constituents. It seems there’s still really nothing wrong with calling the Governor “the Mexican on the 4th floor” because… you know… it’s not a racial slur. It means “people of Mexican descent” and besides, “there are lots of people on the 4th floor.” Not to mention, “we are both women of color,” so I guess it’s all no harm, no foul, eh?

You can certainly see why she wouldn’t be resigning over a little thing like this. I’m sure she’d be just as forgiving if this same slur had come from one of her GOP colleagues, right?


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