February 25, 2015 / Volume XXXVII / Issue 2
Mississippi state representative, Gene Alday, is trying to protect himself against backlash due to racist comments he said in an education policy interview.
He has stated several times since the interview that he is not a racist and the comments made to a Mississippi newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger, Sunday, Feb. 15 were misinterpreted.
During his interview, Alday attempted to explain his position against an increase in school funding.
“I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks,’” Alday said. “They don’t work.”
He did not deny his comments; he only continued to deny he was racist. According to the Guardian, he meant for those comments to be off the record and he was quoted without any context. However, reporter Jerry Mitchell rejected these statements.
Alday, a republican elected in 2011 to represent Mississippi’s 25 districts will have to defend his seat in the upcoming November election. However, state governor, Phil Bryant, and other republican leaders have distanced themselves from Alday and his comments, believing it is an unjust representation of the GOP. This in turn will make his reelection tricky.
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus is hoping to talk to state officials about Alday’s comments. It is feared that his comments have increased racial tensions in the state and that racism in Mississippi is more prevalent than expected.
As a means of correction, Alday told the Desoto Tribune that he intends to approach the Mississippi House of Representatives and apologize for his comments upon his return to the state capitol.
“I am definitely not a racist at all,” Alday said. “Because I mean, I get along with everybody. And I’ve spent a lot of time helping people.”