Speed Reads

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This GOP congressman asked a black journalist if she had the 'right' to call him 'racist' because she has 'more melanin'

Just days after he claimed in July that white people had contributed more to civilization than any other "subgroup," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asked black journalist April Ryan why she thought she had a "right" to call him "racist." He recounted the story during an interview Thursday with a local Iowa radio station: "She approached me at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame a day or two later, with her tape recorder — it was one of those things you call a media ambush — and so, she began to call me a racist," King said. "And I said, 'Use that word again, again, again, say it a million times. You're devaluating the effect of it. You've got no basis for it — because you have more melanin in your skin, does that give you the right to call me a racist?'"

King cited the backlash from his July challenge to an MSNBC panel — when he asked them to state a "subgroup" of people that had contributed more to society than "western civilization" — as one of the reasons for his "rejection" of words like "bigot" and "racist." Ryan was a member of that MSNBC panel, and King says his encounter with her occurred shortly after that.

Listen to the interview — including King's explanation for why he thinks the Congressional Black Caucus is "self-segregating" — below, via BuzzFeed. Becca Stanek