Kansas Lawmaker Says His Anti-Obama Video Not Racist

Published October 21, 2009

A defiant Kansas lawmaker, whose “Redneck Rap” video blasting President Obama was snatched from YouTube several days ago, has reposted it, saying it is not racist.

Critics, including officials at the Southern Poverty Law Center, have called the rap video – which shows Republican state Rep. Bill Otto wearing a hat that describes opossum as “the other dark meat” – as racist. Amid the controversy, Otto’s daughters took the video down, saying it opened their father up to public ridicule.

But Otto said that when they used his passwords to remove the video from the social-networking site they made a bad situation worse. "People are going to think that this was done by people to shut me up," Otto told The Associated Press. "I'm getting hate e-mails from Maryland to California, but, hey, that's part of the game."

The criticism has been steady and harsh. A fellow Kansas lawmaker called the video “disturbing” and evidence of bigotry, while Heidi Beirich, research director for the hate-group-monitoring Southern Poverty Law Center, described it as "racially tinged."
 
"It's totally racially insensitive," she said.

The timing of Otto’s posting help fuel the controversy. Just two months earlier, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, another Republican from Kansas, quipped that the GOP is still looking for "a great White hope," AP reports. She later said she wasn't referring to Obama and didn't know of the phrase's past link to pre-civil-rights era racism, according to AP.

Written by BET.com Staff

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