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BY Francis Akhalbey, 7:55am February 19, 2024,

Shock as Republican lawmaker claims her White father, born in the 1930s, was a slave

Rep. Jennifer Decker claimed her White father was a slave -- Photo Credit: Kentucky House of Representatives

A Republican state representative in Kentucky caused a stir on social media after she claimed her White father was a slave during a February 1 meeting that was organized by the Shelbyville chapter of the NAACP.

According to The Daily Beast, Rep. Jennifer Decker, who is White, is sponsoring a state education bill that seeks to block diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. The bill, if passed, will bar funding for training and scholarships that are aimed at promoting diversity.

“HB 9 would ensure the postsecondary system in Kentucky is held accountable to dismantle the failed and misguided DEI bureaucracies that have made college more divided, more expensive, and less tolerant,” Decker initially claimed in a news release when the bill was introduced in January, Louisville Public Media reported.

Decker then claimed at the NAACP event that DEI initiatives are not indispensable because her father managed to make something of himself despite being born into poverty and working as a slave. The 68-year-old GOP lawmaker’s father was born in the 1930s (almost 70 years after slavery in America was abolished).

“My father was a slave, just to a white man and he was white,” Decker said in response to a question about her family’s link to slavery. Decker claimed her father was born on a dirt farm, adding that a “prominent person” who was her paternal grandmother’s father was “kind enough to allow them to work for him as slaves” after she was deemed an illegitimate child, The Courier Journal reported. 

The White lawmaker later told the news outlet that her father could be deemed as an enslaved person because he was born into poverty and his family worked on a farm they did not own. “[My father] was a child and his family all worked there,” the 68-year-old claimed.

Decker, however, admitted her statement about her father being a slave was “probably” over the top as his alleged plight was not similar to what enslaved Black people endured. She added that no one abducted her family. 

The lawmaker was rebuked on X (formerly Twitter) over her comments. “A white slave in the mid-20th century? Talk about recreating history!” University of Louisville Pan-African Studies Professor Dr. Ricky L. Jones shared. “Maybe this makes sense in the alternate supremacist reality that is Kentucky, but nowhere else. Jennifer Decker and her Republican friends lie about and distort everything else, why not this?”

Kentucky education advocate Rob Mattheu also posted: “Too many of our Republican legislators like to say outrageous bigoted things for attention then refuse to own it when called on it. Jennifer Decker is a truly abhorrent and stupid person.”

“I’m embarrassed for her & KY. She is an elected official. She should feel embarrassed,” Hannah Drake, who is a poet and activist, posted. “During [Black History Month] she wants us to know her father was a slave. Help me somebody.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 19, 2024


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