Arizona’s Only Black Lawmakers Chastised for Calling Out Racial Slur in Colleague’s Column

The two sole black members of the Arizona Legislature were “formally chastised” after they spoke out against a colleague’s published column that included a racial slur, the Associated Press reports. Rep. Reginald Bolding and Rep. Geraldine Peten denounced the column, which was written by Rep. Maria Syms, saying it was unacceptable for her to include a slur in her piece and to attempt to “discredit” a teacher who incorporated rapper Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics in the classroom. The majority Republicans in the legislature voted to “formally rebuke” Bolding and Peten—and asked them why “it’s so hard to follow the [House] rules,” according to the report. Syms’ column in the Arizona Republic claimed the two leaders of the teacher walkout in Arizona were “political operatives,” and said one of the teachers had an “exotic” classroom, in part because he incorporated music from Kendricks’ Pulitzer-winning album. She also quoted one of the rapper’s lyrics in her piece, which included a derogatory term for black people. This comes as about 60,000 educators walked out of their classrooms Thursday to push for more education funding from the state.