Indiana Democrats are calling on Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas to resign after sharing a racist meme on Facebook of black kids dancing with the words “We gon’ get free money!” The Indianapolis Star reported.
“It makes me want to cry. And that’s the truth,” said Jeannine Lee Lake, an African-American Democratic congressional candidate running against Rep. Greg Pence in the heavily Republican 6th Congressional District.
“I’m just amazed. He’s a leader in our state. This is not Indiana. It’s not the best of Indiana certainly. And it’s sickening,” Lake added.
“Reached this morning on his cell phone, Lucas, R-Seymour, said he doesn’t see color and doesn’t believe his post was racist,” reported Chris Sikich. “He’s said he created the meme Monday night to protest federal bailouts that have created more debt for future generations. He happened to find a picture of black kids dancing in the meme generator, he said, but could have just as easily chosen a photo with white kids.”
Lucas also defended the dialect he used in the caption, claiming it is simply how he and others in the area talk, saying, “I don’t see anything wrong with it. People who want to find racism are going to find racism in anything.”
The lawmaker created a new post this morning defending the controversial meme, using a photo of the image he found on the meme generator without the added words.
“I used this STOCK PHOTO of a little boy dancing and celebrating,” he said in the post, “because the government is handing out free money, to everyone, regardless of their skin color. I phrased it in a celebratory way and have danced and mocked things in that exact same manner myself.”
He then posted a photo of several toothless white kids with the words: “We gon’ get free money!” Then he posted a picture of himself, smiling, with an oversized yellow cowboy hat saying “We gon’ get free money!”
“THIS is the kind of garbage that divides us,” he wrote on Facebook, blaming his “boredom” for creating the memes in the first place. “I don’t see nor look at the color of a person’s skin and I find it repugnant of those that do. I apologize for nothing and the meme stays.”
— Beth Bell (@elizabethalbell) May 12, 2020
But this is not the first time Lucas has faced controversy over racist social media posts.
Last August, the Republican came under fire for posting an image of a noose under a story about a Black man convicted of rape.
“This is just like that whole thing of when I used the picture of the gallows,” Lucas said, “and everybody made an issue out of that because I used an image of a gallows on a post about a black professed rapist.”
Lucas has previously blamed sexual assault survivors for their own attacks, writing a letter to a newspaper arguing that women should take responsibility for preventing rapes by carrying firearms.
Democratic lawmakers have called for Lucas to resign.
“Eric Holcomb needs to fully and forcefully denounce Jim Lucas’ divisive and hateful rhetoric,” said Lauren Ganapini, the party’s executive director. “He needs to second a call for Lucas to resign. Anything short of a resignation is just turning a blind eye to unacceptable behavior.”
The chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, sent a letter to Huston asking Lucas be removed from the two committees on which he serves, including his position as vice chair of the government reduction committee. He also served on the education committee.
She also called for bias training for all lawmakers.
“Silence from the Republican leadership on this discriminatory matter will be taken as an indication of support for Rep. Lucas’ offensive behavior,” she said.