Sen. Chris Buttars, black babies, and the NAACP

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Interesting story on Senator Chris Buttars late this week, and being asked to step down for racially charged (see subtle racist) comments he made on the Senate floor:

While the regional head of the NAACP is calling for Sen. Chris Buttars to resign over a racially charged comment, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. says that is a matter for voters. And Senate President John Valentine says the decision is Buttars' alone. During debate Tuesday on a bill to equalize school construction funds, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, called the measure an "ugly baby." Other senators picked up on the metaphor and as Buttars stood to oppose the measure, he said: "This baby is black. It is a dark, ugly thing."

During a break after the debate, Sen. Ross Romero approached Senate President John Valentine with concerns about the offensive remark and, when senators returned, Buttars apologized, but insisted it was not meant to be racist. "I made a comment that I think a lot of people could take racist. I certainly did not mean that in any way but it was wrong and certainly could easily have been taken that way," Buttars said. "I apologize to anyone who took offense. . . . I ask for your forgiveness."

Jeanetta Williams, regional president of NAACP, is calling for Buttars' resignation. "We are asking him to step down," she said. Williams had said Tuesday evening that she accepted Buttars' apology and would not demand that he step aside, but she later remembered an earlier incident where Buttars questioned the legality of the Supreme Court's landmark civil rights ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which did away with the "separate but equal" doctrine.
Read the full article down at the Salt Lake Tribune.