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Charlie Rangel: I Thought the Tea Party Would Think ‘White Cracker’ was ‘Term of Endearment’

New York Congressman Charlie Rangel is nothing if not controversial.

In 2010, the then 80-year-old senior Representative was slapped with 13 ethics violations, resulting in both Democrats and Republicans calling for his resignation. While he did not, he was censured and lost his influential post as chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Despite that controversy, he was still re-elected and has managed to get himself in some new scrapes, including when he called the Tea Party Republicans “white crackers” and compared them to the same folks who fought desegregation in the South last year.

Just last week, however, he stirred the pot further, when he said he thought Tea Party-ers would like to be called “white crackers” since they are so proud of their race.

“I thought that was a term of endearment, you know,” Rangel said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “[The tea party is] so proud of their heritage and all the things they believe in.”

He added that if they were offended, he apologized, or at least sort of.

“With all of the feelings I have against these people that have been against justice, fair play, equality and the freedoms as we know it, if I offended them by calling them a white cracker, for that I apologize,” Rangel said. “For the rest of it — there’s a lot that has to be done here. With the names I’ve been called, I never really put cracker in that category.”

Then, he clarified that even if they were offended, they probably should not be, given that they are the real racists.

“This shows how ridiculous this is,” he added. ”A guy from Lenox Avenue who’s in Congress calls mean-spirited people that bomb and kill people, set dogs on them, lynch people and still refuse to believe that we’re suffering in pain from this — they can say, ’That guy makes a lot of sense, but he had no business calling us a white cracker.’”

He then said if they wanted to have dinner with him, he was willing to talk about it, but he was sure they would not come.

“I certainly would like to have dinner with some of the people that were offended,” Rangel concluded. “I’m certain they wouldn’t want to talk with me, though.”

Photo Credit: Congressional Photo

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Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.