Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy took to national television on Friday to try and clarify his recent “negro” remarks — but doubtless made matters worse.
“If I say ‘negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet,” he said, on CNN’s New Day program. “I should be able to say those things and they shouldn’t offend anybody. I didn’t mean to offend them.”
He also said this his previous comments — which took the form of a musing about whether “the negro” was “better off as slaves, picking cotton” — weren’t intended as hurtful or racist. But he also conceded that in the heat of the moment he perhaps used poor phrasing, Mediaite reported.
“I didn’t say it to offend them,” Mr. Bundy said on the television broadcast. “I was trying to ask a question and maybe I said it wrong. I’m sorry if I said it wrong. The question was a good question and it come from my heart, not done with prejudice.”
He then spoke of King’s activism and also of Rosa Parks and said of the latter historical figure that he wanted her “to be able to sit anywhere in the bus and I want to be able to sit by her anywhere in that bus,” Mediaite reported.
Mr. Bundy replied: “Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness and maybe I don’t know what I actually said. But you know when you talk about prejudice, we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings. We don’t have freedom to say what we want.”