Missouri State Representatives Marlene Terry and Justin Hicks (Image Source: Youtube video screenshot)
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Missouri state Representative Justin Hicks, a black Republican, received a round of applause from lawmakers for identifying as an "American" during a heated debate on the state House floor in late March.
The discussion over diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives turned tense when Democratic state Representative Marlene Terry attacked Hicks for supporting House Bill 6, which would prohibit state funds from being used for DEI-related initiatives.
Terry started by questioning Hick about how he identifies. "Can I ask you what you identify as?" Terry asked Hicks. "Ethnicity."
"I identify as an American," Hicks replied, and the room erupted in applause.
"Not African-American?" Terry questioned. "Are you African-American?"
Terry argued that all Americans do not have equal opportunities. She stated that Hicks might be conflating "privileges" certain people possess with equality.
"I was elected to my first office in 1999 in a 95% African-American school district where the entire board was white," Terry claimed. "Do you think that's equal?"
"It took me 20 years, sir, to get into this building. And I had to fight to get here," Terry continued. "Think that's equal?"
Hicks contended that Terry was provided with the same opportunity as her colleagues.
Terry claimed that Hicks was "delusional." She then lamented that her proposed bills, particularly education legislation, have not been implemented.
The Democratic lawmaker then asked Hicks to explain what it took for him to get elected to office.
"I had to work on my own merits and pretty much promote the principles that I believe in, which is freedom, equality for all, which I believe that America does," Hicks stated. "And that's how I got elected to my position. I didn't get elected into my position because of the color of my skin or do any race-baiting stuff that it seems like you're promoting here."
A seemingly agitated Terry replied, "Oh, I'm promoting race-baiting? No, I think you're promoting privilege, tokenism."
Hicks denied Terry's claim that he came from a privileged background. He explained that his father passed away when he was a child and his mother, who was of lower income, raised him and his two brothers alone.
"I had to work my butt off to get where I am today," Hicks said.
"Shame on you!" Terry shouted at Hicks as her time on the floor concluded.
"I Identify as an American" - Woke Race-Baiter Gets WRECKEDyoutu.be
In an interview about the exchange with Terry, Hicks told "Fox & Friends First" that it was "actually ridiculous that I'm being questioned on issues of race" and accused the left of having "lost face of reality."
"We've moved beyond the issues of race here in America," he added. "This is not an issue of race any more. And I think they look for words to divide us instead of unite us."
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.