Georgia state Sen. Emanuel Jones (D) seemingly accused Clarence Thomas this week of being a traitor to his own race, condemning the Supreme Court justice as an "Uncle Tom."
While debating Georgia SB 69 — a bill that would honor Thomas, a Georgia native, with a statue on the Georgia Capitol grounds — Jones took his opposition to the measure to a new level when he personally attacked Thomas.
"I'm just trying to tell you what we have in the African-American community when we talk about a person of color that goes back historically to the days of slavery and that person betraying his own community — we have a term in the black community," Jones said.
"That term that we use is called 'Uncle Tom,'" he continued, explaining the phrase describes "a person who back during the days of slavery sold his soul to the slave masters."
Jones justified using the derogatory phrase to describe Thomas by registering his ideological disagreements with Thomas, accusing the justice of "subverting" and "suppressing" the achievements of black people. Jones did not list explicit examples of how Thomas has done that.
The Democratic lawmaker then took his rhetoric one step further, claiming people of "non-color" just cannot understand why he is right.
"Y’all just don't get it," Jones said of non-black people. "And I don't expect people of non-color to get the sensitivity that we feel."
Perhaps most ironically, Jones admitted while embarking on his anti-Thomas diatribe that he does not know the full origin of the "Uncle Tom" epithet.
What was the reaction?
Jones' racial attack against Thomas drew sharp reaction, including from the U.S. Senate's only black Republican member.
"In the same breath that he says he doesn’t know the origin of 'Uncle Tom,' he uses it to describe Clarence Thomas for having the audacity to have his own beliefs," Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) responded. "This language has no place in America, and certainly has no place on a Senate floor."
Former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), meanwhile, said Jones' speech displays "the hatred and radicalism of the far-Left."
"The Left is so outraged by a proposal to build a statue of Clarence Thomas at the Georgia Capitol, that one unhinged lawmaker compared him to an 'Uncle Tom' who 'sold his soul to the slave masters,'" she tweeted.
The Georgia Senate ultimately approved SB 69 by a vote of 32-20. It now heads to the state House for consideration.
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