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Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas Under Fire for Slavery Comments to Black Surgeon Was Sanctioned for Controversial Meme

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An Indiana state representative has been accused of racism on Facebook less than a year after he was sanctioned for posting a controversial and racially-charged meme to the same platform.

Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican, is under fire following an Indianapolis Star report from Monday detailing his exchange with Dr. James Carson, a Black orthopedic surgeon from Texas. The controversy began last Tuesday after Lucas posted about his recent appearance on local television discussing gun control and the U.S. Constitution. Carson weighed in by bringing up the fact that slavery was a U.S. institution when the document was written.

“You know the constitution was written with people like me as slaves with no rights,” Carson wrote. “Is that how it should be interpreted?”

“The first slave owner in America was black,” replied Lucas, referring to Anthony Johnson, one the first Black land owners in America. In 1655, the Northampton, Virginia Court ruled John Casor was owned for life by Johnson, the first such judicial decision in the Thirteen Colonies. “Blacks captured and sold blacks as slaves. Slavery is vile and repugnant, but has, and is tragically a way of humanity.”

Carson’s profession and his state of residence were then mentioned by one of Lucas’ supporters. The lawmaker offered his “congratulations” to Carson while apparently questioning whether the qualification was achieved through affirmative action.

“Did you get any scholarships or financial assistance because of your skin color?” asked Lucas. “Any minority scholarships?”

“Jim Lucas in fact I did not,” Carson responded. “But I was valedictorian and in the honors college. Any more questions or do you want to discuss the constitution?”

The outside of the Indiana State Capitol Building is pictured in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 30, 2012.
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Facebook thread continued but Lucas bowed out of the discussion with Carson at that point. Carson told The Indianapolis Star that the lawmaker’s comments were “not even thinly veiled” and had been “pretty obviously racist to me.”

“The fact that he would even imply that I’ve gotten where I am in life through school, only because of my race, he doesn’t even do a good job of trying to hide it,” Carson explained.

Lucas denied that his comments had anything to do with racism, while blasting the media for reporting on Carson’s allegation of racism. He told the paper that “people that keep generating the divisiveness by weaponizing the mere accusation of racism are vile and horrible and despicable.” A subsequent post to Lucas’ Facebook page described the article as a “race baiting hit piece.”

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The exchange was not the first time Lucas has been accused of racism in connection with his activities on Facebook. He temporarily deactivated his account after being sanctioned by GOP Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston last May for sharing a controversial meme featuring the image of dancing Black children accompanied by the words “We gon’ get free money!”

Lucas initially defended the meme, posting a subsequent meme using the same words with an image of white children and arguing that people “who want to find racism are going to find racism in anything.” He later apologized. Months earlier, Lucas denied that racism was a factor after receiving criticism for posting an image of nooses while sharing a report on a Black man who pleaded guilty to rape.

The Liberty Buzz reached out to the offices of Lucas and Huston for comment.

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