Utah State Rep. calls NAACP a racist organization, backtracks and apologizes days later

Utah State Representative David Lifferth (R-Eagles Mountain) found himself in hot water after sending out this racially charged tweet:

David Lifferth

The tweet was in reference to the ongoing Donald Sterling scandal.  Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clipers basketball team, was recorded by an ex-girlfriend making horrendously racist remarks about African-Americans and them not being welcome at “my games.”  At the time, Sterling was set to be honored by the Los Angeles NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) for his contributions to that organization – contributions that largely came as a result of previous accusations of discrimination against Sterling.

In since deleted tweets, Lifferth elaborated on the first tweet:

  • One twitter user responded with: “so you’re saying the NAACP is racist?”
  • Lifferth: “Yes, any group that tries to advance specific people based of their race is by definition racist.”
  • Original poster:  “NAACP was founded in 1909 when there was much need for help in advancement of black ppl!”
  • Lifferth: “that may be true but today we need associations that advance all people regardless of skin color.”

Originally, Lifferth refused to back down from his remarks, saying in an interview: “I am truly not a bigot or a racist. I love all people regardless of the color of their skin. The reason I said what I said on Twitter today (Tuesday) is because the NAACP is based on the external color of someone’s skin and we should be beyond that.”

Naturally, Lifferth’s remarks were denounced by the NAACP.  Jeanetta Williams, President of the Salt Lake City branch of the NAACP, said that she was, “astonished by the lack of knowledge of someone in Rep. Lifferth’s position about the NAACP. We, the NAACP Salt Lake Branch publicly extend an invitation for Rep. Lifferth to attend one of our NAACP meetings where we can educate him about our volunteer work.”

However, after originally standing by his statement, Lifferth apologized a few days later via a statement on his website:

I need to publicly apologize for my bad joke about Don Sterling and the NAACP. My joke was in poor taste and insensitive to others.  I have learned a lot in the past few days. The NAACP is not a racist organization. My logic was flawed.

For the record, I grew up at Ground Zero of the Civil Rights Era. I grew up in a family and was taught by parents to love all people. I have been taught much and have a great amount of love and respect for my teachers, classmates, coaches, team captains, teammates, friends, best friends, church members, neighbors, roommates, and family members of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

I apologize for my insensitive words and hope that people can find it in their hearts to forgive a naïve person that truly does love and care for people of all races and nationalities.  I have deleted my tweets and hope that they no longer hurt anyone’s feelings.

What bothers me more than anything else about this apology is that its ridiculous.  “Bad joke?” Really? A bad joke that he attempted to defend by saying that the NAACP was racist in two different tweets, and then a TV interview?  He was being serious – his deleted tweets and TV interview back up that claim and its disingenuous to argue otherwise.

Lifferth deleted all tweets referring to the original one and tweeted his apology twice, as well as his support for the NAACP:

So, what do you think?  Good apology or bad one?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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