White US lawmaker's monkey email sparks outrage at Alabama statehouse

Republican Rep. Lynn Greer, of Rogersville, forwarded a constituent email to dozens of legislators and lobbyists.

Published: 18th May 2017 11:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2017 11:17 AM   |  A+A-

By Associated Press

MONTGOMERY: A white Alabama legislator who stirred outrage after sending an email that black lawmakers on Wednesday condemned as racist has apologized.

Republican Rep. Lynn Greer, of Rogersville, forwarded a constituent email to dozens of legislators and lobbyists that described an experiment in which caged monkeys will eventually stop reaching for a dangling banana as they slowly accept the status quo because their predecessors were punished.

The email was sent as black lawmakers used procedural tactics in the House and Senate to oppose proposed new legislative districts they said minimized black voters' influence.

Greer apologized and said the email was meant to be a joke about the need to replace incumbents. However, black lawmakers said its intent was clearly racial. The bubbling tensions threatened to derail the final days of the legislative session.

"We have been subjected to the most racial insult that I've ever seen," House Black Caucus Chairman John Knight said of Greer's email. "There is no place in the statehouse. It is insulting and it is unacceptable."

Greer issued a statement apologizing for the email and met with the black lawmakers to apologize in person. He said he didn't see the email as racist.

"Bottom of my heart I didn't mean anything bad," Greer told The Associated Press. Greer said he now understood, with the backdrop of the race-tinged redistricting fight, how it was perceived. "If I thought about all that. I guarantee you I wouldn't have done that."

The email titled "POLITICS Psychology" describes how monkeys are sprayed with water for reaching for a banana. Some black lawmakers on Wednesday night said the imagery drew comparisons to how civil rights protesters in Birmingham were sprayed with fire hoses.

"My father was one of five boys and those five boys were some of the ones who got sprayed in Birmingham. Your email brought back a lot of emotions for the people who fought for the rights of all people," Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham, told Greer during debate on an unrelated bill.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.