Rhode Island Rep. Patricia Morgan’s tweet about losing ‘a Black friend’ to critical race theory causes stir
Morgan co-sponsored an anti-CRT bill in Rhode Island that would have banned the "teaching of divisive concepts” in public schools.
Rhode Island state Rep. Patricia Morgan is catching heat on social media over her tweet saying she lost “a Black friend” due to her stance on critical race theory.
“I had a black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me, too. But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn’t do anything to her, except be white,” wrote Rep. Morgan, a Republican. “Is that what teachers and our political leaders really want for our society? Divide us because of our skin color? #CRT”
TheGrio previously reported that CRT is a legal theory developed by legal scholars Derrick Bell, his former student Kimberlé Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic, Mari Matsuda, and others, to examine the role of the law in the endurance of racial inequality in a post-civil rights era. As theGrio contributor Janel George noted, “The current uproar over critical race theory (CRT) is just another remix of the same song of white supremacy in public education.”
Earlier this year, Morgan co-sponsored an anti-CRT bill (RI H6070) in Rhode Island that would have banned the “teaching of divisive concepts” in public schools. At the time, she told NBC 10 News, “You can teach our history. You teach about slavery and the things that made that a horrible institution that never should have happened, but you cannot say that present-day people, because they are white are to be considered to be bad people just based upon their color.”
The bill failed to pass in June but was also meant to mandate that “any contract, grant or training entered into by state or municipality include provisions prohibiting divisive concepts and prohibit making individual feel distress on account of their race or sex.”
Morgan believes that her support for the bill is what cost her the friendship with her lone Black friend.
“I noticed over the last year, she started getting into more of the identity politics, kinds of conversations, but I really didn’t get to see her very much,” Morgan said amid the backlash to her controversial tweets, WPRI reports. “I’ve been taking care of my mom. The lockdown has made it very difficult to get out of the house very much, but I did see her at a Christmas party and there was a definite coldness there.”
Morgan’s tweet was quickly flooded with responses, promoting her to defend her comments in an interview this week where she also called out Twitter’s algorithm.
“I’m wondering about the mechanism behind it,” Morgan said. “We know that Twitter can mute your tweets or promote them, they can change their metrics. … Very few Rhode Islanders are commenting on it, but I sure am getting a lot of California, New York, Oregon and Washington.”
“You know, normally I’m lucky if I get 20 people to notice my tweets,” she added. “So really, why would Patricia Arquette pick up my little tweet in Rhode Island?”
Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette had tweeted to Morgan, “You just divided the country with your tweet. Are you that unconscious?”
The Black Lives Matter RI PAC has called on Democratic House Speaker Joe Shekarchi to boot Morgan from the R.I. House of Representatives.
“This comment is offensive and deeply insulting to the Black and Brown community,” the PAC’s leaders said in a statement. “If Representative Patricia Morgan truly believed we shouldn’t be divided by our skin color, she wouldn’t have made this divisive of a comment, along with the many other similar comments she has made in the past.”
The PAC’s Executive Director Harrison Tuttle noted that Morgan “has made multiple statements in the past that have also reflected on her character and today is just a line of them that reflect on her as a person and her as a legislator, unfortunately.”
Morgan’s tweet has received sharp criticism on Twitter, with one user writing directly to Rep. Morgan, “Sweetie, you might think you claimed her as a friend. She never claimed you. There was something she read in you that said she couldn’t actually have a real conversation with you about race. Know how I know? Been Black in predominantly white spaces all my life. We know you.”
Morgan told NBC 10 News that she plans to revisit bill RI H6070.
“I think the law that I put in last year to ban CRT was not a very good piece of legislation, so I’ve worked on that and I’m working on putting in a new piece that really goes after the things that I thinks we should all be against,” said Morgan on Tuesday. “That is using racial stereotypes in the classroom, that is about judging people by their skin.”
Check out below some additional reactions to Rep. Morgan’s tweet.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!