Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said all white people are racist and that his blood was “polluted” by white people last week while filibustering a bill and lambasting a state education board member who has rejected calls for his resignation after his blog called the president a “half-breed.”
Chambers, a 77-year-old African American senator who is the state’s longest serving lawmaker, made the comments about race while filibustering a bill that would increase the fee for marriage licenses.
His comments came after three weeks of debate and calls for the resignation of State Board of Education member Pat McPherson, whose blog repeatedly used derogatory, inflammatory language to describe minorities before it was shuttered in January.
While trying to whittle away eight hours filibustering, Chambers talked Thursday about how his ancestors were enslaved and sexually abused by some of the nation’s “righteous,” Christian founding fathers.
What they were declaring in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence was that they could do anything they wanted with black girls and women, he said.
“Oh yes, I have a great store of bitterness in me,” he said. “Why do you think I’m not black? Because some white person or persons jumped a fence and polluted the blood that is in my veins to this day.”
Recounting how blacks were promised voting rights if they served in the military, he said “white people don’t keep their word.”
Listeners to KFOR Radio were appalled and shocked by Chambers’ comments after they were replayed on the Coby Mach Show. Some said Chambers is a racist and should resign, too.
Chambers routinely denigrates “white people” and his fellow senators as racist and is rarely challenged, but his diatribe Friday finally raised the ire of a fellow filibusterer, Sen. Dave Bloomfield, R-Hoskins.
“I grow a little weary of the constant charge that we are all racist,” Bloomfield said on the floor of the Legislature. “What I see Senator Chambers doing here on a regular basis here I also feel is wrong.”
That only riled up Chambers more, who then recounted how he’s often ignored by store clerks who serve white customers first, in an example of “white privilege.”
“When you’re black, it doesn’t change,” he said. “If I walked around here humble, afraid to look a white man in his face, they would chew me up and spit me out.”