A Republican state lawmaker from Colorado who referred to a colleague as “Buckwheat” during a House session was reprimanded Thursday.
State Rep. Richard Holtorf made the remark Wednesday during debate on economic stimulus legislation that would infuse $10 million into Colorado’s arts and film industries and cultural organizations, and caused immediate uproar in the chamber.
Buckwheat was the name of a stereotypical Black child character in the 1930s “Our Gang” and “Little Rascals” short films. The character was later repeatedly satirized by comedian Eddie Murphy on “Saturday Night Live.”
“I’m getting there. Don’t worry, Buckwheat. I’m getting there,” Holtorf told an unidentified legislator in the chamber while speaking from the podium Wednesday.
“I’m sorry?” Democratic House Speaker pro tempore Adrienne Benevidez interrupted.
“That’s an endearing term, by the way,” Holtorf continued before Benevidez hammered her gavel and called for order as some members began yelling at Holtorf. “Why are you yelling at me?” Holtorf asked before Benevidez called for a recess.
Democratic state Rep. Leslie Herod, who is Black, confronted Holtorf, who is white, at the podium immediately after the remarks.
“This is what I have to deal with Every. Damn. Day,” she tweeted afterwards.