GOP Lawmakers

GOP Rhode Island state rep facing backlash after saying she lost ‘black friend’ to critical race theory

A Republican lawmaker from Rhode Island is under fire for suggesting in a Tuesday tweet that she lost a Black friend over race and critical race theory.

State Rep. Patricia Morgan, who is white, tweeted about losing her “black friend” over race before suggesting teachers and politicians are dividing people over “skin color” and referencing critical race theory.

“I had a black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me, too. But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn’t do anything to her, except be white,” she wrote. “Is that what teachers and our political leaders really want for our society? Divide us because of our skin color? #CRT.”

Morgan’s tweet shocked both Democratic and Republican politicians, with critics calling the comments “ignorant.” The Republican minority leader in the Rhode Island state House, Blake Filippi, said Morgan’s tweet was “absurd, juvenile and condemnable.”

Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island’s secretary of state and a Democratic candidate for governor, called the comments “ignorant and embarrassing.”

“Rhode Island deserves leaders who bring people together not recklessly divide us,” she tweeted.

Morgan defended her tweet, telling The Providence Journal she believed it was in good faith.

“I’m sad that this is the way our country is going, that we are judging people by their skin color, not their character,” she said. “I didn’t think it was controversial.”

Her comments drew national criticism as well. George Takei, known for his role as Sulu in “Star Trek,” blasted Morgan on Twitter, using the lawmaker’s phrasing against her.

“I had a white friend. I liked him and I think he liked me, too. But then Pearl Harbor happened and whites became hostile and unpleasant. I am sure we didn’t do anything but they sent us to camps anyway. And now they don’t want to teach about this because it make kids feel bad,” he wrote.

Critical race theory, an area of academia that frames institutions and systems in America around race, has met stiff resistance from conservatives across the country. At least 21 states have introduced bills to ban critical race theory from school curriculums, and four states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, Idaho and Tennessee — have signed such bills into law.

Morgan, the former minority leader in the Rhode Island state House, unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill last spring restricting schools from teaching that racism is baked into American institutions.

Morgan told The Providence Journal that her effort to pass the bill was likely the reason she lost her friend. Morgan ran into the friend at a recent Christmas party and felt ignored by the person.

“I like my friend,” she added. “She’s funny and strong and smart. Whenever we got together, we had a good time. We enjoyed each other’s company.” 

Tags Critical race theory educational curriculum Patricia Morgan Providence racism Rhode Island state lawmaker
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