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Arizona Republican Calls Black Americans 'Colored People' on House Floor

Eli Crane

Arizona Republican Eli Crane has received condemnation for referring to Black service members as "colored people."

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives were quick to rebuke a Republican from Arizona after he referred to Black Americans as "colored people."

As the House debates the National Defense Authorization Act, conservatives have hijacked the legislation to insert a myriad of ring-wing amendments, including restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights and further limitations on affirmative action practices.

On Thursday, freshman Republican Eli Crane defended an amendment he proposed, which would prohibit the Defense Department from considering race, gender, religion, political affiliations, or "any other ideological concepts" in training, hiring, education, or promotions. Speaking on the House floor, he maintained that diversity is "lowering our standards."

In response, Joyce Beatty, a seasoned Democrat from Ohio, pushed back against Crane, insisting that it is instead Republicans who are “setting us back.”

“I’m old enough to remember when Black officers, when women, were not allowed to serve,” Beatty said. “You are setting us back. On this floor on both sides of the aisle we have people of color, we have people who have served.”

In an attempt to defend his ideals, Crane showcased his principles with language adjacent to that of a 1900s segregationist.

“My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve,” he told colleagues. “It has nothing to do with any of that stuff.”

As Crane wrapped up his comments, he was instantly chastised by lawmakers, including Beatty, who insisted that his “offensive and very inappropriate" remarks be stricken from the record.

“I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as colored people,” she said.

Crane asked to change the term to "people of color," but the presiding leadership sided with Beatty, striking his remarks from the legislature's records. Crane has since insisted he "misspoke," but Black lawmakers were quick to condemn his words as emblematic of a larger attitude in Republican circles.

"This is a shameful moment on the House floor," the Congressional Black Caucus wrote on Twitter. "Rep. Eli Crane referring to Black service members who risk their lives for our country as ‘colored people’ is unconscionable. The GOP fights against diversity, equity and inclusion training and prove everyday why it’s necessary."

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