JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A Republican state senator, whose Twitter post went viral over the weekend, said his post wasn’t racist as hundreds of commenters have already said, but rather a joke aimed at “Communist China.”
State Sen. Joel Carter made a comment on the Biden administration’s approach to a weather balloon from China that found its way into U.S. airspace, posting an image of the balloon with writing and misspelled words that had been added in an attempt to make fun of Asian accents.
The post quickly garnered more than 1.3 million views, thousands of comments and hundreds of retweets, mostly condemning Carter for what he chose to post.
“He should be embarrassed. I imagine that’s how he’s feeling. But the thing is, is that you know, what he said in that post, was very racist. And again, it’s typical of the mentality of many white people here in the state,” said Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance.
Chandler said the next step should be for Carter to address the post publicly.
“He needs to apologize, not only to the Asian community, but entire community of color, because that affects everybody,” Chandler said.
Carter hasn’t apologized yet.
He read but chose not to respond to WLBT’s requests for comment.
When WLOX — a sister station in Carter’s hometown — called Carter, he initially told the reporter that he had been advised not to respond to media questioning his post, then responded anyway.
“It was a joke and it was blown way out of proportion,” Carter told WLOX.
Carter also said he would not take down the tweet, saying that would further inflame the situation.
“It’s a sad day when we can’t be lighthearted,” Carter added.
Chandler said Carter’s post is another example of Americans feeling emboldened to say what they want without fear of who they may offend.
“They think they think they can get away with it because of white supremacy that controls state government. And that’s their constituents as they see it,” Chandler said.
Carter represents Harrison County.
Nearly six thousand of the county’s residents are Asian.
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