An Oklahoma lawmaker is seeing repercussions for using the term "colored" as a description of babies during a heated debate in the state's House of Representatives earlier this week.
Republican State Representative, Brad Boles received backlash for his remarks made while arguing for anti-abortion bills. He has since tried to apologize for his word usage.
Video of the incident was captured and shared online.
Here’s video of Oklahoma lawmaker Brad Boles referencing “colored babies” yesterday while reading from notes on the… https://t.co/ZUxtYktyNK— The Lost Ogle (@The Lost Ogle)1615388707.0
The comments came on Tuesday during the session where politicians were debating bill HB 2441. This bill would criminalize abortions performed after there was "cardiac activity". This is also known as a fetal heartbeat bill.
Boles was arguing in favor of the bill, attempting to outline the effect of abortions on minority communities.
"In 2017, 862,000 babies were aborted. 28 percent of those babies were colored babies."
"240,000 Black kids. 215,000 Hispanic kids. These kids mattered and I'm here to advocate for them as well."
The state rep's words were quickly condemned online.
My colleague referencing "colored babies" is how I know they don't have the ability to make legislation that effect… https://t.co/Gtc5XWXD2U— Mauree Turner (They/Them) (@Mauree Turner (They/Them))1615321609.0
@TraceyZeeck @MaureeTurnerOK Rep. Brad Boles— Tyler Talley (@Tyler Talley)1615323517.0
if you think there is no systemic racism in the US, I refer you to Rep Brad Boles from Marlow OK who calls black babies colored babies— Dianne Dodson (@Dianne Dodson)1615491504.0
Brad Boles is 37 years old. He’s not some grandpa from a different bygone era. https://t.co/Uk9JjdykCE— Dylan Goforth (@Dylan Goforth)1615334149.0
Bole's words quickly went viral, with people calling him out for using "colored" in that context. Some even pointed out Boles is fairly young for a politician, so it's not like this vocabulary for him was the product of another era.
Later on in the day, as the House's session stretched into the night, Boles tried to apologize on the House floor, claiming saying what he did "was not what it was intended to be."
"Earlier today, I made a mistake on the House floor. We were debating a passionate bill, and through the slip of the tongue, I said a word that was not what it was intended to be, and so I apologize for any of the members of the House or that listed online that I may have offended."
However, his comments weren't forgiven so easily. Alicia Andrews, the chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, responded to the statements by Boles.
"As a Black woman who is old enough to be his mother, I am shocked that someone is using the term colored in 2021."
"Colored is not part of your normal lexicon. If it's not part of your normal lexicon, it doesn't just come out. So, it is part of who he is."
Others online commented on the situation unfavorably against Boles as well.
It would not be a "slip of the tongue" if that was not the way he feels / thinks. https://t.co/Yk2Qw0dhmc— LindaPoirier (@LindaPoirier)1615488294.0
@Newsweek Might be time to follow the NBA’s lead and fine these unacceptable slurs - slips of the tongue. $50k migh… https://t.co/YoDppCjBJe— Audrey Garvin (@Audrey Garvin)1615488220.0
Wow! Oklahoma politicians have really outdone themselves with today's myriad displays of fringe, extremist, LOONEY… https://t.co/gNQJ62M8Zg— Cristi Richardville - White Eagle (@Cristi Richardville - White Eagle)1615345607.0
@WGNOtv @beyerstein He's 37. He graduated high school in 2001. This isn't some octogenarian who had a cultural hicc… https://t.co/Bk5HZ4M4f3— ANGLO SAXONS DIDN'T HAVE PIZZA (@ANGLO SAXONS DIDN'T HAVE PIZZA)1615429767.0
It was also quickly pointed out Boles did not provide sources for the statistics he spouted during his racist remark.
The Guttmacher Institute did report in 2017 over 862,000 abortions were performed in clinical settings in the United States. However, this represented a 7% decline from three years prior.
Additionally, across the country, rates of abortion varied from state to state, though states that supported abortion rights contributed more to the decline between 2014 and 2017.
Since his viral comments, many online have called on Boles to resign, and said his comments have no place in politics.
Others saw it as an opportunity to make jokes.
Papa John's founder: It took me 20 months to stop using the N-word Rep. Brad Boles: https://t.co/AGOIuSm80W— The Friday Night Music Party (@The Friday Night Music Party)1615425225.0
@Eddie_Rado Still better than being State Rep Brad Boles— Aaron King (@Aaron King)1615380347.0
They are still living in the middle of the last century. https://t.co/UkoMWXden1— Katie Armistead (@Katie Armistead)1615344129.0
@OKhouse To Brad Boles. What do you mean by “colored babies”? Is it 🌈 babies, red babies, yellow babies, green bab… https://t.co/fTCfK9Xmd0— IndependentAmerican (@IndependentAmerican)1615405835.0
As of writing, Rep. Boles has not resigned over his comments. The bill at the center of this controversy is still being discussed in the Oklahoma state legislature.