On Wednesday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill to create a statue honoring Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
During the debate on whether or not to place the statue within or on the grounds of the state capitol building, Georgia Sen. Emanuel Jones called Thomas an “Uncle Tom,” accusing him of betraying the Black community and being excessively subservient to white people.
“In the Black community, we have an expression… in the African American community when we talk about a person of color that goes back historically to days of slavery and that person betraying his own community – we have a term in the Black community. That term that we use is called ‘Uncle Tom,'” Jones said on the Senate floor.
Jones added that the term “Uncle Tom” refers to a person who “back during the days of slavery sold his soul to the slave masters.”
A Georgia State Senator called Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” on the senate floor during debate on a bill to put a statue of him in the State Capitol.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 15, 2023
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The Democratic Party continuously fights against Justice Thomas, the second Black justice on the Supreme Court, because he is anti-abortion and he doesn’t fit the political mold that Democrats have laid out for the Black community.
Political commentator Greg Price posted to Twitter saying, “Clarence Thomas may have been born in Georgia in poverty during segregation and grew up to become the second black justice on the Supreme court but he can read the Constitution and see there’s no right in it to kill unborn babies therefore he is an Uncle Tom.”
Republican politician Lavern Spicer condemned the words of Sen. Jones, saying, “This is how they kept us slaves for so long, make us fight against each others successes. The black community has another saying too, ‘black folks hold each other back like crabs in a barrel.'”
This is how they kept us slaves for so long, make us fight against each others successes. The black community has another saying too, “black folks hold each other back like crabs in a barrel.”
— Lavern Spicer 🇺🇸 (@lavern_spicer) February 15, 2023
Despite Jones’s protests, the Georgia state Senate voted 32-20 along party lines to support the statue’s creation and for it to be placed on the grounds of the state capitol building in Atlanta.
Speaking in support of the bill, Sen. Ben Watson said,
“This native son of Georgia deserves a place of honor and recognition on our Capitol grounds, a place where future generations of Georgians can learn valuable lessons from his legacy and gain inspiration and belief that their lofty dreams are obtainable too in America, regardless of the circumstances into which they were born.”
The bill will be passed on to the state House for consideration.