A Republican Rhode Island state representative is facing backlash from both parties this week after tweeting that she and a black friend of hers had fallen out over critical race theory.
“I had a black friend. I liked her and I think she liked me, too,” Rep. Patricia Morgan wrote Tuesday. “But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure I didn’t do anything to her, except be white.
“Is that what teachers and our political leaders really want for our society? Divide us because of our skin color?” Morgan asked before adding the hashtag “#CRT” for critical race theory.
The tweet drew immediate backlash from Ocean State lawmakers of both parties.
“The strength of our state is in our diversity,” Democratic Rhode Island Secretary of State and former gubernatorial candidate Nellie Gorbea wrote. “@PatriciaMorgan is the former minority leader of the RI House and her comments are ignorant and embarrassing. Rhode Island deserves leaders who bring people together not recklessly divide us.”
Republican Rhode Island House Minority Leader Blake Filippi slammed Morgan’s tweet as “absurd, juvenile and condemnable.”
“Once the RIGOP stops catering to the extremists of the party and opens its doors to all, RI may finally get a balanced legislature,” tweeted Cranston Councilman and city GOP Chairman Matthew Reilly in response to Morgan, according to WJAR.
Hopkinton councilman and town GOP Chair Scott Bill Hirst joined Filippi in describing Morgan’s statement as “absurd,” adding that it was “not helpful to our party.”
A spokeswoman for the Rhode Island House Republican Caucus told the station that Morgan has not been a member since December 2020. However, the state House website still lists her as the GOP representative for the cities of Warwick, Coventry, and West Warwick.
Morgan’s initial tweet went viral for all the wrong reasons and caught the attention of prominent black leaders and Hollywood actors.
“Having only one black friend is the first problem. The second is starting the tweet with that,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) tweeted. “We’ve been divided long before 2021. Study redlining. #CRT doesn’t promote division and is not taught in K-12 schools. Stop the fearmongering and tell the American people the truth.”
“I’m sure the only thing you did to her was be an ignorant, white, racist, shrew, as demonstrated by this tweet,” wrote Bishop Talbert Swan, head of the Greater Springfield, Mass. chapter of the NAACP.
“Suspected white supremacist women say stuff like this about Black women ALL THE TIME, especially in places of employment,” claimed author Tariq Nasheed. “What they basically mean, is if a Black woman is NOT acting like Aunt Jemima around the white people at the job, the BW is considered ‘hostile’ & ‘unpleasant.’”
Many mocked Morgan’s tweet using the hashtag #IHadAWhiteFriend, mimicking the language she used.
“I, too had a white friend. But now she is hostile and unpleasant. I am sure it wasn’t me,” journalist Ernest Owens tweeted. “All I did was tell her that she benefited more from affirmative action programs than me. Is this what happens when white people find out about white privilege?”
“This is like the winner to, ‘the worst opening sentence to a novel’ contest,” “Law and Order” star Chris Meloni wrote.
“I had a white friend. I liked him and I think he liked me, too. But then Pearl Harbor happened and whites became hostile and unpleasant,” tweeted “Star Trek” actor George Takei. “I am sure we didn’t do anything but they sent us to camps anyway. And now they don’t want to teach about this because it make kids feel bad.”
“I noticed over the last year that she had started getting into more of the identity politics, kinds of conversations, but I really didn’t get to see her very much,” Morgan claimed of her former friend to WJAR Tuesday. “I’ve been taking care of my mom. The lockdown has made it very difficult to get out of the house very much, but I did see her at a Christmas party and there was a definite coldness there.”
Earlier this year, Morgan introduced a bill that would have restricted schools from teaching “divisive concepts” like critical race theory.
The Republican told the Providence Journal that the legislation might have been a reason for her losing her friend and added that she didn’t think her tweet was “controversial.”