MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A newly-elected state lawmaker from Memphis is facing criticism for controversial comments made in a now-deleted Facebook video. Democrat London Lamar, who ran uncontested in House District 91, posted the video following last week's election.
"Tennessee's racist. Period. Period. Like, Tennessee is racist," Lamar said in the video. She also said, "most of the Tennesseeans who voted Republican are uneducated."
In another part of the video, Lamar said: "White men voted Republican over - well over 60 or 70 percent, so obviously that's a particular base of people who believe in superiority."
Some of Lamar's future constituents took issue with her words.
"Tennessee is not racist. It's the people that's in Tennessee that's racist," said Ron Burgess.
"I think that our country, in general, has a long way to go, but you can't make a blanket statement like that, you know, so I just -- I totally disagree with that," said Rachel Drozinski.
Lamar weighed in herself Monday with a partial apology: "We want to make sure we don't over-generalize groups of people. For that, we sincerely apologize," she said.
But Lamar said she doesn't apologize for the point she was trying to make: that race played a role in the election. "What we have seen is that many of the folks who voted Republican based their judgement on racially-charged rhetoric that was coming down from the White House," Lamar said.
WREG asked Lamar is she still felt that the entire state of Tennessee is racist.
"I think Tennessee is very polarized and I think that we need to continue to have conversations about how Tennessee can work on behalf of everybody," she said, "I think Tennessee has people who may identify with rhetoric that leans towards that way and I think we are a very racially-polarized state."
Lamar said she will advocate for everyone in her district when she takes office in January regardless of race or party affiliation.