In Colorado, Republican State Sen. Vicki Marble (pictured) stirred up controversy with her colleagues when she talked about blacks eating chicken and Mexicans eating vegetables until they move to the United States, reports the Denver Post.
“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” Marble said. “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 and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”
The senator also said Mexicans eat healthfully until they immigrate to America.
On Wednesday Marble and the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force were looking at statistics highlighting racial disparities and the poverty rate.
Two Democrats on the committee, Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins and Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora, later said Marble’s comments not only reinforced stereotypes, but that they also are inaccurate. They said everyone in the room seemed shocked by her remarks.
Fields, who is black, called Marble out in committee.
“You mentioned what we eat — I was highly offended by your remarks,” Fields said.
“I will not engage in a dialogue where you are using these stereotypical references about African-Americans and chicken and food. I will not tolerate that. This is not what this committee is all about. … What we are trying to do is come up with meaningful solutions. This is not about eating chicken.”
Before things got of hand and Marble could answer Fields, the committee chairman, Kefalas, called for a recess “so we can all take a deep breath.” The issue was not brought up when the committee returned.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, Marble said her comments “were not meant to be disparaging to any community. I am saddened they were taken in that regard.
“I take my responsibility seriously, and I hope our work on this committee will offer real solutions to the health and financial challenges of our vulnerable populations.”
Kefalas brought to light a report that shows Mexico now is the most obese industrialized nation in the world, narrowly surpassing the United States. This is something Kefalas said Marble must not be aware of.
“I think sometimes she doesn’t understand the implications of what she is saying,” he said. “It was outrageous. Stereotyping doesn’t get us anywhere.”
Fields did not return to the committee hearing, as she was scheduled to attend a neighborhood meeting.
“Chicken and sickle-cell anemia,” she later said. “Can you believe it?”
Marble’s comments were first reported by Fox31: