A Texas Republican Dennis Bonnen recently used the racial slur “coonass” when referring to children displaced after Hurricane Katrina. Bonnen is currently the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. His position calls for him to stand in when the Speaker of the House is absent.
Dictionary.com defines “coonass” as a “vulgar slang term” that is “used with disparaging intent and is perceived as insulting. Many linguists believe the term can be attributed to the racial slur “coon,” used in reference to African-Americans. Other linguists believe that the word derives the French word “cunnus,” a vulgar term often used to refer to a French prostitute.
According to Think Progress reports:
“During a discussion on what resources would be needed in schools to accommodate migrant children, Bonnen, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, recalled Texas’ experience educating children who moved from Louisiana. “I want to be clear,” he said. “A Katrina child is far different. We can make jokes and pick on Louisiana and its fun and all that, but it’s a hell of a lot different bringing a kid over from Louisiana than a child who’s just made a treacherous journey from South America. … We had to have a teacher who could do coonass and English, but here we have to do Spanish and English, maybe, and there’s a higher marker.”
Although, Bonnen’s comments were directed at victims of Hurricane Katrina, he has a history of proposing intolerant bills on immigration. He has filed to make the records of “illegal immigrants” available to the public and to make English the official language of Texas.
Watch Bonnen’s comments:
I’ve always heard the term used to refer to Louisiana Cajuns. No racial component in it unless someone is trying to insert one.
Bonnen needs to be fired! Times have changed but racism hasn’t. Known racists should be banned from all State, Federal and local offices, because they can’t adequately represent the people. It’s people like Bonnen the Republicans need to impeach and be embarrassed to be associated with. If he has children, would he like them spoken about in derogatory terms? I think not. He is obviously use to using unhealthy terms toward poor and minority people, therefore, his slip expressed his lack of respect for a class of people. There is no place in our government for bigotry. All people are relevant without regard of race, creed or origin. There is no room in Texas government for politicians like Bonnen. His freedom of speech ends where his words hurt others. Although it won’t undo the damage, an apology from Bonnen is in order.
I have heard both
You may be right Dan, but I have only heard it one way. Where there is a chance of hurting people or there being a misunderstanding, it is better to err on the side of caution; choose more acceptable wording. This is especially true when you’re a politician.
That is not a term used against blacks, it is a tern used by whites against another white. Think about it, coonass, who would have something like that, a black or white person. I believe the media ran away with this one again, hoping blacks be insulted.
U r all race bait lovers….get over urself and ur victim excuse for everything….so I assume u now cant work pr go out of ur house people r racist? Ur a bunch of fucking victim seeking losers…. how about movin on getting a fucking education and gettin a job assholes
No words Jason, no words.
So, he using the term in reference to the patois language? Specifically, the English-French dialect. Is it a slur? Yes. Is it directed to black people? No.