A Colorado Republican state representative was reprimanded this week after calling one of his colleagues “Buckwheat” during a House session, KDVR reports.
Rep. Richard Holtorf was talking about about military rules of engagement while discussing a piece of legislation on Wednesday when another representative interrupted him.
“I’m getting there. Don’t worry, Buckwheat. I’m getting there,” Hortolf told the representative. “That’s an endearing term, by the way.”
The remark caused an eruption in the House chamber, with multiple people speaking out. Democratic representative Leslie Herod, who is Black, rushed to the podium to confront Hortolf, according to CBS Denver.
After a brief recess, Holtorf returned to the mic to offer an apology for his remarks.
“I apologize if I’ve offended anybody in any way,” the GOP lawmaker said. “It is not my intent, ladies and gentlemen. If anyone would like to talk to me afterwards, I’d be more than happy to visit with them.”
According to CBS Denver, Democratic House Speaker Alec Garnett said on Thursday that he had a conversation with Holtorf and other lawmakers.
“Yesterday, the decorum of this institution was grossly breached,” Garnett said. “I’m sorry to say this is not the first time this session, but I’m speaking today to make sure it is the last.”
The term “Buckwheat” comes from an African American character in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) series from the 1930s and 1940s, a series that contained offensive racial stereotypes. Comedian Eddie Murphy portrayed the character in Saturday Night Live sketches in the 1980s.