A Colorado Republican state senator caused an uproar Wednesday when she suggested that some of the reasons for racial disparities in poverty levels is because blacks eat too much chicken and Mexicans get fat when they move to the United States.
“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” said Sen. Vicki Marble during a meeting of the state’s Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. “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.”
“Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south,” she said. “I love it.”
She went on to say that Mexicans are skinnier in Mexico, where they eat “all of the fresh vegetables.” But when they come to the United States, “they change their diets. I’ve read studies on that. They become Americanized.”
“These things aren’t good for you,” she continued.
Marble rambled on for about five minutes, moving on to blame government regulations for a “loss of self-respect” in low-income communities.
“Our government, with best intentions, put on a lot of regulations which put a lot of people out of work and that took away the most important ingredient to success and that’s self respect,” she said. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and a lot of these kids with nothing to do feel, ‘why not? Why not pull off a robbery at the local 7-Eleven?’”
Minority families would benefit, she said, from a return to old-fashioned values.
“If we would get a few things back in their lives, like a job, religion and family, and understand your genetic predisposition to certain diseases, and give them the responsibility to take care of themselves,” she said. “But that has all been taken away.”
Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, who is black, took to the microphone and blasted Marble for her remarks.
“[O]ne of the things I will not tolerate is racist and insensitive comments about African Americans, the color of their skin,” she said. “You mentioned what we eat — I was highly offended by your remarks.”
“I will not engage in a dialogue where I’m in the company where you are using the stereotype references about African Americans and chicken and food and all kinds of things,” Fields said. “I will just not tolerate that.”