Delaware House Majority Leader apologizes after referring to Black colleague as “colored”
DOVER, Del. – Delaware House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst has apologized after she referred to one of her Black colleague’s as a “colored woman.”
Rep. Longhurst made the comment on the first day of session Tuesday while recognizing her colleague Representative Melissa Minor-Brown on her new role as House Majority Whip, a historic move marking the first time a Black woman has served in a leadership role in the Delaware House of Representatives.
“I’d also like to make special recognition for Representative Minor-Brown as the first colored woman in leadership in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Longhurst said on the floor of the House. “Give it up to Representative Minor-Brown. You stand up girl, own it.”
The very next day, when session resumed, Rep. Longhurst took to the floor to apologize.
“Unfortunately, I horribly misspoke when trying to say ‘woman of color’ I know how hurtful that word is that is so closely associated with one of the bleaker times in our history, Jim Crow,” Rep. Longhurst said. “It’s a derogatory term and the exact opposite sentiment I was trying to express to my friend, for that I am truly sorry.”
Following her apology, Rep. Minor-Brown responded, saying she understands why people were upset by her choice of words but that she doesn’t feel that Rep. Longhurst meant any harm by it.
“I believe that the intent of what you were trying to say was not negative or coming from a bad place,” Rep. Minor-Brown said to Rep. Longhurst in response to her apology. “I know who you are, even if the word choice was not the greatest.”
Rep. Minor-Brown went on to recognize that it was a mistake and said it’s important to extend grace to your colleagues when they make such mistakes.
47 ABC has reached out to both Rep. Longhurst and Rep. Minor-Brown who have yet to respond to our requests for comment.