The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 01, 2018 1:00 am

State senator denied racism exists

Zay invokes MLK as old Facebook remarks unearthed

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Huntington Sen. Andy Zay said “racism is not real” and lamented the plight of the white male in a three-year-old Facebook discussion that surfaced this week online.

Zay was not a state senator at the time of the private debate that has since become public. But he is running for re-election to the Senate District 17 seat in the fall.

“Racism is not real. The biggest minority class in America is the white male,” he said in the direct message conversation. “More white males are refused to college, medical schools and law schools than any other group. Yes there are more, but these so called minorities are given way more opportunity to succeed and be part of successful programs than the average white male.”

The other person in the conversation then said, “are you serious right now...Do you realize that everything I'm telling you is getting tweeted and sent to every reporter I know. You are a horrible bigot.”

Other topics included in the long discussion were tax abatements, minimum wage and then-President Barack Obama. On Obama, Zay appeared to quote another person who called the president a Muslim who hates America.

Zay sent a statement to The Journal Gazette on Monday saying:

“Racism is not a topic that should be taken lightly, and I should have been more careful with my words in the discussion that has been posted online by others. My remarks were part of a much broader discussion on the American Dream. I believe every Hoosier and every person should be treated equally regardless of race. I agree with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that all people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

Zay's Democratic opponent for the Senate seat, Gary Snyder, said he is “deeply disturbed by the views expressed by Zay in this conversation.

“Our state senators are there to serve all of the people of their district. While Zay is free to hold the belief that 'racism is not real,' he is denying the very real experiences of voters he is representing.”

Zay owns a car dealership in Huntington and is married with five children. He has helped with other campaigns over the years and previously lost in a run for Huntington County commissioner in 2004. He was a Huntington Township Board member when he won the caucus to fulfill the term in the Indiana Senate.

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