Lucas accused of ‘racist’ social media comments

SEYMOUR — District 69 State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is again being accused of racist social media behavior, this time by a Houston surgeon who commented on a Lucas Facebook page post.

The most recent post under scrutiny involves an exchange on Lucas’ Facebook page with Dr. James Carson, a Black orthopedic surgeon from Houston, Texas.

Lucas represents portions of Bartholomew and Jennings counties, the northern part of Jefferson County and Jackson County in the Indiana General Assembly.

On March 23, Lucas, a vocal Second Amendment supporter, posted about an appearance he made on Indianapolis television station WISH-TV in response to President Joe Biden calling for a ban on assault weapons.

In the Facebook post’s comment section, a conversation about race and constitutional rights between Carson and Lucas ensued.

After Carson posted “You know the Constitution was written with people like me as slaves with no rights. Is that how it should be interpreted?” Lucas responded, “The first slave owner in America was black. Blacks captured and sold blacks as slaves. Slavery is vile and repugnant, but has, and is tragically a way of humanity.”

Later in the post, Lucas congratulated Carson on becoming a surgeon and asked, “Did you get any scholarships or financial assistance because of your skin color? Any minority scholarships?”

Carson responded that he was valedictorian and in the honors college.

“I’m not aware of any scholarships available to white people just because they’re white. Somehow that was taken as I was implying that was how he got into school, and there was nothing further from the truth,”  Lucas told The Republic Wednesday. “Those were simple, factual questions with no implications.”

The Indianapolis Star was the first to report the story, which has since gone nationwide, and even international.

“It’s another race-baiting hit piece by the Indianapolis Star and other news media outlets,” Lucas said adding that he feels like the media is targeting him because he’s outspoken. “…Slavery is vile, reprehensible, and despicable, and I’ve said that multiple times. People don’t want to hear that, they go to ‘every white person is a racist.’ Especially outspoken white people. Racism is horrible.”

Lucas was also recently accused of racist behavior following a Statehouse session when Black lawmakers were shouted down and booed by some Republicans.

The incident happened on Feb. 18 when Democratic Rep. Greg Porter of Indianapolis, who is Black and was wearing traditional African clothing in recognition of Black History Month, called a proposed bill discriminatory while speaking on the floor of the House.

Several Republican members loudly said “no” and “stop” while Porter was speaking, and Lucas stood up and asked House Speaker Todd Huston for a point of order.

At one point during the session, Lucas turned around and said to his nearest colleagues, “Walk out so we don’t have to listen to this,” according to reports. After making the comment, some Republican lawmakers left the chamber with Lucas.

Lucas has been accused of making social media posts on multiple occasions in recent years.

On May 11, Lucas created and shared a meme on his Facebook page of Black children dancing with wording that read: “We gon’ get free money!”

The legislator stated his intention of the post was to criticize federal bailout efforts related to COVID-19, and that he “didn’t see color.”

“If I’m racist, am I that stupid to actually come out and post something like that?” Lucas said of the post.

The Indiana State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People submitted a resolution to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly calling for Lucas’ resignation a week after the post went up.

In a guest column addressing the public outcry, published in The Republic on May 21, Lucas said, “Hindsight being 20/20, the celebrating meme was a stupid mistake on my part. I’m human, I made a mistake and I own it. My personality is an open book and I am outspoken, but I have learned an extremely valuable lesson.”

Lucas was later removed from the House Interim Study Committee on Elections and the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy by Huston. At the time, he was also demoted from vice chair to a regular member of the Standing Select Committee on Government Reduction.

The lawmaker deactivated his Facebook account for a short time last spring, saying it had “become a soundboard for hate.”

In August of 2019, Lucas also defended himself after commenting on a WISH-TV Facebook page article about Marquise Dozier, a Black man who had pleaded guilty to three counts of rape in Allen County. Lucas, who said he believes in capital punishment, commented on the story link with a photo of a set of gallows from Arizona.

Lucas, a former Marine and small businessman in Seymour who has held his office since 2012, said he plans to continue sharing content on his Facebook page despite the backlash he is again facing.

“It’s a form of communication,” Lucas said. “It’s funny, the support is overwhelming. That one post that the IndyStar decided to focus on, before they got a hold of it, I think there were 57 emoji hits and 50 of them were ‘likes.’ They liked my comments. They chose to make a story out of a comment by a person from Houston on a thread. If you look hard enough, you’re going to find anything.”

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A website with contact information for Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is located at https://www.indianahouserepublicans.com/members/general/jim-lucas.

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