DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado state representative is under fire after referring to a colleague as “Buckwheat” during a House session Wednesday morning.
Rep. Richard Holtorf, a Republican who represents the northeastern part of Colorado, was speaking to the House. He was talking about military rules of engagement and the law of proportionality when he apparently responded to another legislator and said, “I’m getting there. Don’t worry, Buckwheat. I’m getting there.”
A moment later, Holtorf said, “That’s an endearing term, by the way.”
Holtorf then got into a back-and-forth with Rep. Tom Sullivan.
In February, Holtorf told Sullivan, whose son was murdered in the Aurora movie theater shooting, “You have to let go.”
It’s unclear who Holtorf directed the “Buckwheat” comment to.
But Rep. Leslie Herod later tweeted, “This is what I have to deal with Every. Damn. Day. #onwepress“
“I was completely disgusted that the use of a black stereotypical caricature, racist trope, was used in our General Assembly,” said Dr. Apryl Alexander, a psychology professor at the University of Denver, who often speaks on racial issues.
“All of these things were created as fictional caricatures that created these stereotypes of the lazy African-American person,” Alexander said. “So for that to be used in the state Capitol is just inappropriate.”
Holtorf later returned to the lectern and spoke again.
“I think we all need to consider what we do here and how we address and talk to each other,” Holtorf said on the House floor. “I think that we all have to do better. I will start with me. I think we have to respect each other. We have to respect people’s time here and listen and be good people and not try to have confrontations across this chamber.
“I apologize if I’ve offended anybody in any way. It is not my intent, ladies and gentlemen. If anyone would like to talk to me afterwards, I’d be more than happy to visit with them.”
Holtorf did not have much to say about the comments Wednesday night, but told KDVR, “There is two sides to every story.”