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Right on the heels of New Jersey governor Chris Christie drawing ire for referring to Sheila Oliver, the state’s first Black female assemblywoman, by race and gender instead of by name,  he called a Black man at a town hall meeting in Paterson, NJ, “boy.”

“Boy,” of course, is historically a racial slur White people used to belittle Black men. As Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. said in his Letter From Birmingham Jail, “when your first name becomes ‘nigger’ and your middle name becomes ‘boy’ (however old you are)…” it was one of the many reasons  — to him — that the Civil Rights Movement and the ultimate goal of desegregation was urgent.

Some are using Christie’s statement that “language matters; language is a window into attitude” to bolster their argument that he is racist.

See Christie’s remarks below:

These unfortunate incidents happened right as Christie has seen a surge in popularity across the aisle after his handling of Hurricane Sandy.

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