Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason, who is a cooperating witness in a federal corruption case was recorded calling Black casino customers “aborigines” while wearing an FBI wire, The Associated Press reports. Beason, a Republican, is a key witness in the trial of nine people accused of exchanging money for votes on pro-gambling legislation. The slur was revealed in court this week.
Aborigines are by definition one of the earliest inhabitants of a country or region, but the word can be viewed as a racial slur when used outside of that context in reference to skin color.
During the conversation, Benson and two other senators were joking about economic development the state’s Greene County, which is predominately African-American, and Black customers at the Greenetrack casino, one of the areas largest employers.
The three were joking about economic development in predominantly Black Greene County and the customers at one of the county's largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.
“That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said, referring to the Native American gaming industry.
“They're aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” replied Beason.
The transcript was provided by the defense attorney representing indicted casino owner Milton McGregor. His lawyers also presented another transcript in which Beason was heard agreeing with other Republican lawmakers that “there would be a big turnout by Black voters because casino owners would offer free buffets and gambling credits to attract Black customers and then bus them to the polls.
“Scott Beason’s comments are disgusting and it’s time for him to go,” said Judge Mark Kennedy, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, reports a local CBS affiliate. “Senator Beason has demonstrated a level of ignorance and racism that has no place in the Alabama legislature. He should resign immediately and I call on the leadership in his party to encourage him to do so.”
(Photo: AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)