Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia recently defended his use of the phrase "colored people" in a speech he made on Oct. 3 at the Technical College System of Georgia in Savannah (video below).
Deal was pushing the state's proposed Amendment 1, which would give up local control of failing schools to the state, notes WAGA, when he said:
The irony of some of the groups who are opposing doing something to help these minority children is beyond my logic. If you want to advance the state of colored people, start with their children.
Deal told the news station on Nov. 2 that "colored people" was a reference to the NAACP, which opposes Amendment 1.
If Deal had used that phrase, his sentence would have read: "If you want to advance the state of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, start with their children."
"Well, I think I misspoke in that I did not use the entire name of the organization," Deal said. "But I don’t think I misspoke in terms of where I think they should be on this issue."
Deal was asked why he used the term "colored people," and replied: "Because that’s in their name ... It was in the organization's name. I think my mistake was I didn’t use the whole name.”
Deal offered an apology to anyone who may have been offended.
Along with the NAACP, teacher unions, school boards and civil rights groups also oppose Amendment 1.
Democratic state Sen. Vincent Fort said of Deal's speech: "As I listen, I'm stunned, it’s language that I would not expect from the chief executive of the state."
Fort didn't buy Deal's explanation for using the "colored people" phrase.
"It's language that comes from another time," Fort added. "It's plantation language."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in October that the organization that has been pushing Amendment 1 is Georgia Leads, a political action fund set up by Deal's backers, which has received huge donations from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and AT&T, according to campaign filings.
The amendment would mean an appointee of the governor could seize schools that are "chronically failing" and the tax dollars that support them. Those seized schools would be closed, run by a new statewide district or turned into charter schools with independent management.
Charter schools are usually private schools, which means teachers unions could be shut out.