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[June 19, 2013]
State rep in hot water over Facebook comment about black mothers
NOTTINGHAM, Jun 19, 2013 (Foster's Daily Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A local lawmaker is downplaying a potentially controversial comment he posted on Facebook about the parenting ability of African-American mothers.
The comment came Monday in a public exchange between state Rep. Kyle Tasker, a Nottingham Republican, and another House member. Tasker was discussing a video he shared on Facebook, which shows two African-American women fighting on a bus.
In the clip, one of the women leaps from her seat and tosses her baby across the aisle to attack the other. The video ends with commentary about the incident from Tommy Sotomayor, a controversial African-American talk show host based in Atlanta. Sotomayor opines that black women "are the worst stewards of children on the planet," and says they "do not care about their children." In response, Goffstown Rep. John Burt posted two comments about the video on Facebook. Burt asked the question "Is this man racist?" Tasker replied: "He thinks black women are the least fit people on earth to rear children. So not really." On Tuesday, Tasker said his comment wasn't intended to express any opinion about the fitness of black women to raise children. Instead, he was speaking solely about whether the man in the video is a racist.
Tasker said he stumbled across the video around 2 a.m. on a recent morning and became "outraged" at the woman's conduct, leading him to share the video.
Facebook records show Tasker shared the video at 2:19 a.m. on Sunday morning. It was accompanied by a message that reads: "(Expletive) gets real at 2 minutes ... you know it's coming but still." Tasker shared the video on his Facebook page a second time at 11:48 a.m. on Monday. It was the second posting that elicited comments from Burt.
In an interview with Foster's this week, Tasker emphasized that his recent comments about black women should not be construed as an opinion about the impact of race on child-rearing.
"I think it has no connection with age, race socioeconomic background -- I think it has a lot to do with how you were raised," he said. "Probably if you had a very loving, very well-adjusted childhood, you wouldn't be likely to do that to your child." Calling Tasker's comment about black mothers "shameful and offensive," New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein accused the state's Republican leaders of failing to "halt the epidemic of shockingly inappropriate behavior" from party members.
Tasker joins a growing list of Democratic and Republican lawmakers who have drawn fire for comments online. Earlier this year, Auburn Rep. Stella Tremblay was denounced by members of both parties for comments she made about the Boston Marathon terror attacks on Facebook.
Before that, Durham Democrat Timothy Horrigan was singled out for scorn by conservatives and the editorial page of The New Hampshire Union Leader for passing on a joke with his Twitter account.
In January, Horrigan "retweeted" a message that expressed a desire for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to go on a hunting expedition with Dick Cheney -- a seeming allusion to Cheney's 2006 shooting accident, which left the former vice president's companion with a gunshot wound.
Another Facebook message about a conservative icon led Horrigan to resign his House seat in 2010. He bowed out in August of that year, after posting a derogatory remark about Sarah Palin, according to a CNN report.
Tasker has also been in hot water for Facebook commentary in the past. While discussing the state's deadly force bill last year, Tasker wrote a message that described the hypothetical shooting of a police officer.
The Huffington Post released a copy of the comment last year, citing WMUR-TV as the source.
"When a police officer points his firearm that's not gonna make me feel threatened?" Tasker asked, writing on the House Republican Caucus' Facebook page. "If I've been trained to respond to that with force am I justified in blowing a cop away because I'm quicker on the draw, and he already pointed his firearm at me? Police are just citizens with badges and all laws should apply equally." Tasker later issued a statement saying his comment was part of an "intellectual discussion" of the bill, and that he does not advocate shooting police, The Huffington Post reported, again citing WMUR.
___ (c)2013 the Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) Visit the Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) at www.fosters.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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