A Miami Republican state senator, Frank Artiles, is making headlines for referring to his colleagues as “niggers,” among various other derogatory terms.
Artiles was at the Governors Club, only steps away from the state Capitol, with fellow state Senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston when he told the pair – both African Americans – that “Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because ‘six niggers’ in the Republican caucus had elected him.”
Artiles is not African American.
Not only were his comments egregiously offensive, but they were inaccurate. The only African American state Senators are Democrats, none of whom backed Negron’s ascension to Senate President.
According to the Miami Herald, when confronted about his language, Artiles walked back his comments, claiming that he used the word “niggas.”
“I said, ‘Dude, did you say ‘niggers?’” Thurston recounted. “‘No, I said ‘niggas,’” which is different in his mind.”
The fact that a full-grown man and an elected official actually used this excuse – and presented it as if it were reasonable justification – goes to show the level of Artiles’ derangement.
In the same conversation, Artiles also referred to Senator Gibson as “this bitch,” “this fucking asshole,” and “girl.” Gibson, obviously shaken, said to the Miami Herald:
“You’re just talking — loud — to a table of people about leadership. It made me sad. I can’t remember a time in my life when anybody called me either one of those things. It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered.”
This is not the first time that Artiles has made headlines for his abhorrent behavior. In 2015, he was accused by a college student of punching him in the face at a bar, a claim that Artiles denies.
Reports of hate crimes and hate groups have surged since Trump took office, but for an elected official to use this language is beyond repugnant. Artiles’ language is further exacerbated by the fact that he represents an overwhelmingly diverse district; Florida’s 118th District is over 70% Hispanic, 6% African American, and 2% Asian. With Americans growing weary of bigoted people representing them in government, Artiles is certain to face calls for his resignation. Otherwise, the voters will take it upon themselves at the ballot box to rid themselves of this embarrassment in office.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.