An Indiana state representative is reportedly being accused of racism for telling a black surgeon that slavery was a “way of humanity.”

State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, made the controversial remark to James Carson, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, during a Facebook exchange last Tuesday after the politician’s defense of the Second Amendment following President Joe Biden’s call for an assault weapons ban, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The debate then shifted into a discussion revolving race and the Constitution when Carson said the document was “written with people like me as slaves” who had no rights.

“Is that how it should be interpreted?” Carson asked.

“The first slave owner in America was black,” Lucas replied, according to the report. “Blacks captured and sold blacks as slaves. Slavery is vile and repugnant, but has, and is tragically a way of humanity.”

Lucas also congratulated Carson on being a surgeon, but asked the Houston doctor if he had received any scholarships or financial assistance due to his “skin color,” the newspaper reported.

Jim Lucas
Lucas claimed reverse racism plays a role in some scholarships.
Indiana House of Representatives

Carson replied that he did not, but was his class valedictorian and went to an honors college. The surgeon later told the newspaper Lucas’ comments were “pretty obviously racist” to him.

“The fact that he would even imply that I’ve gotten where I am in life through school, only because of my race, he doesn’t even do a good job of trying to hide it,” Carson told the newspaper in a story published Monday.

Lucas, meanwhile, defended his stance when reached by the outlet, claiming his statements were facts.

“There’s still slavery today in many countries, and it’s horrible,” Lucas said. “Slavery is horrible, it’s vile. Racism is vile and despicable. And the people that keep generating the divisiveness by weaponizing the mere accusation of racism are vile and horrible and despicable.”

An assistant professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis pushed back on Lucas’ history lesson — saying that while a small number of slave owners were black, those who were did not engage in the same type of level of subjugation as their white counterparts.

“At first glance, it’s inaccurate and is trying to deny the connection between white racism and white supremacy and enslavement,” IUPUI assistant professor Joseph Lennis Tucker Edmonds said.

Lucas, whose office did not immediately return a message seeking comment early Tuesday, insisted he did not imply Carson’s race more easily enabled him to become a doctor, but claimed reverse racism plays a role in some scholarships.

“There is a double standard when it comes to these racism accusations,” Lucas said. “To my knowledge, there are no scholarships available to white people based on the color of their skin.”

In a lengthy Facebook post Monday, Lucas said it’s time to “stand up” against false accusations and assaults on American values.

“Until we stand up to these false, divisive accusations and social restructuring models, America will only continue to get further divided,” Lucas said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we owe this much to our future generations.”

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