A white Indiana state lawmaker who was accused of posting something racist on Facebook last year is defending himself again after he posted a meme that showed black children in diapers dancing with the caption, “We gon’ get free money!”
Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour said Tuesday that he took the stock photo that he posted on his Facebook page Monday from a meme generator and contended that the language simply reflects how he and other people talk.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it. People who want to find racism are going to find racism in anything,” Lucas, who has represented the state’s 69th District since 2012, told the Indianapolis Star.
Jeannine Lee Lake, a black woman who is running as a Democrat against U.S. Rep. Greg Pence in the heavily Republican 6th Congressional District, was among several people who denounced Lucas’ post this week as racist.
“It makes me want to cry,” she said. “And that’s the truth. 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.”
Lucas posted the meme before Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a new coronavirus aid package totaling more than $3 trillion. The proposal includes nearly $1 trillion for states and cities, “hazard pay” for essential workers and a new round of cash payments to Americans.
Lucas then posted two new memes Tuesday using the same contentious caption from his initial post. One displayed a photo of himself wearing an oversized cowboy hat. The other showed white children with missing teeth.
Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston on Wednesday said in a news release that he spoke with Lucas and expressed his disappointment.
“The post is unacceptable and I don’t condone it,” he said.
Jake Oakman, a spokesman for the state’s Republican Party, echoed Huston’s sentiments.
“Anyone who has followed Jim Lucas for any amount of time knows he speaks only for himself. His views are entirely his alone,” Oakman said.
This isn’t the first time Lucas has been accused of posting something racist online. Last year, he posted a picture of a gallows with two nooses under a WISH-TV Facebook story about a black man pleading guilty to rape.