Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus defends Barbour's "tar babi - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus defends Barbour's "tar babies" comment

Senator Kenny Wayne Jones Source: WLBT Senator Kenny Wayne Jones Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has come to Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's defense after some recent controversial comments put some people on edge. 

On a conference call with more than 100 people tuning in, the former Mississippi Governor referred to the President's policies as "tar babies."

Senator Kenny Wayne Jones, Chairman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus says that any public policy considered controversial is a political "tar baby". 

"Religious Freedom, for example, is a political tar baby for Mississippi because when you touch it you get stuck, and the more you struggle with it, the more entangled you get," Senator Jones says. "Therefore, I do not condemn Governor Barbour's statements as racist, nor do I believe he intended for anyone else to view his comments as such."

He says that there have been people who used the term as a "subtle way to belittle African Americans", but that in this instance Barbour's statement was "simply partisan rhetoric that any politically astute person is entitled to use."

"The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will fight for those who lack an adequate voice, but we won't attack a native Mississippians - Republican or Democratic – to appease those who would label Mississippi as a backwards state," Senator Jones says. 

While he does agree that Barbour could have chosen a more politically acceptable word to describe the President's policies, he says that Barbour's words were simply misinterpreted. 

Others felt that the recent comments he made were racially insensitive.

"I felt like he could have kept those comments to himself," said Terry Pruitt of Jackson. "They want us to do better, and we want them to do better." 

"What I think about that, that's a bad word when it saying about 'poor blacks'. That's how I feel," said Tequara Funchess of Jackson.

In the Oxford Dictionary, the term "tar baby" is defined as a situation, a problem that is almost impossible to solve or break from. But the term is also perceived as a racial slur.

"We're from the south so this kind of a racial state to be honest, but everybody have their own opinion, said Yolanda Perry of Jackson. "Basically I can't speak for everybody else but it was wrong for what he said."

On the call, there was a discussion about whether Democrats will run from or embrace President Obama's policies in 2016, that's when Barbour made the comments.

He says his words were taken out of context and if anyone was offended, he regrets it.

"People going to take it the wrong way and a lot of people did it the wrong way and it was wrong what'd did say,” said Perry. “I did (take offense) and then I had to think about it. We're not here to judge, but he was wrong for what he did say.”

"I feel like we all should get along, try to do the right thing. And I just hate it happened," added Pruitt.

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