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State Rep. Ryan Winkler has issued an apology for an incendiary comment he made on Twitter in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act.

Winkler apologizes for ‘Uncle Thomas’ tweet

Rep. Ryan Winkler (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Rep. Ryan Winkler has issued an apology for an incendiary comment he made on Twitter in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act.

“VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas,” wrote Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, shortly after the ruling striking down a key provision of the federal civil rights law was released.

The reference was to Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, who joined with the four other conservative justices on the ruling. Winkler drew instant attack for the racially tinged remark, which alludes to the title character of Harret Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The phrase Uncle Tom has subsequently been used as an epithet for black people who purportedly betray their own self interest in order to ingratiate themselves to whites.

“So @RepRyanWinkler didn’t know ‘Uncle Tom’ was a racist slur,” wrote conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg on Twitter. “Good to know deep ignorance of American culture won’t hold politicians back.”

“@RepRyanWinkler Not just a bigot, but a lying liar bigot,” wrote conservative commentator Michelle Malkin on Twitter.

The controversy was even picked up by The Drudge Report.

Winkler initially defended his comment. “I didn’t think it was offensive to suggest that Justice Thomas should be even more concerned about racial discrimination than colleagues,” he wrote on Twitter.

But Winkler subsequently deleted the “Uncle Thomas” Tweet and issued an apology. “I was very disappointed today in the Supreme Court decision to roll back key provisions of the Voting Rights Act because I believe the Voting Rights Act is one of the most important steps our nation has taken to eliminate racial discrimination,” Winkler said in a statement. “In expressing that disappointment on Twitter, I hastily used a loaded term that is offensive to many. My words were inappropriate and I apologize.”

3 comments

  1. And the double standard remains strong! If a Republican politician made such a racist remark about any one, democra-tic calls would come from every corner for their resignation. But a democra-tic politician can say and do anything, and these same “sensitive” democra-tics remain noticeably silent.

    When will Americans wake up, open their eyes and see the truth that smacks their face each and every day?

  2. he was right-and even worse-this bigoted black man voted against federal recognition of gay marriage! does this ignoramus not know that only 50 years ago, the rich white man did the same to his race? he is just a rich white man’s puppet – history will show how shameful he is

  3. Joe-what double standard? he apologized just like a bigoted republican would do-doesnt matter anyway-most agree-Thomas has always been a white man’s puppet-he dont even speak, liek a good puppet…

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