State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is being accused of racism after creating and posting an image of a group of black children dancing in their underwear with the words “We gon’ get free money!” written on the photo on his Facebook page.
The post went up at 9:04 p.m. Monday and had not been taken down as of Tuesday afternoon.
In a follow-up post, Lucas wrote he was bored Monday and made several memes through a meme generator. He said the intention of the post was to criticize federal bailout efforts, and that he believes the government is overstepping its authority.
“I used this STOCK PHOTO of a little boy dancing and celebrating because the government is handing out free money, to everyone, regardless of their skin color,” Lucas wrote in the post. “I phrased it in a celebratory way and have danced and mocked things in that exact same manner myself. I’m white. But hey, it’s a picture of a black kid so I guess that makes it different, WHICH IF YOU THINK THAT WAY, IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF RACISM!”
On Tuesday, Lucas, who represents District 69, said he won’t take the post down because he doesn’t believe it’s racist.
“There is no racism intended in it,” he said. “Had I not used (the photo) because of the color of the kid’s skin … isn’t that the definition of racism — judging people by the judgment of their skin? I saw a kid happily dancing.”
Lucas later posted two photos with the same statement: “We gon’ get free money!”
One of the photos was of him smiling while wearing a yellow foam hat, and the other was of a group of white people without teeth smiling.
“I can’t believe how triggered so many people are today and how many people are just looking to be outraged at a manufactured ‘outrage opportunity,’” Lucas wrote. “The bottom line is that if you look hard enough for good or bad, you’ll find it, and the funny thing is that all of the Jim Haters out there prove my Constitutional beliefs right with every (expletive deleted) post that they make.’”
Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake, who is seeking the 6th Congressional District seat now held by Republican Rep. Greg Pence, called Lucas’ post “reprehensible.”
“I wasn’t going to repost this offensive picture, but sometimes, you just have to let ugly be ugly,” she posted Tuesday morning. “This is a post from GOP State Rep. Jim Lucas’sFacebook page last night, a post he apparently thinks is OK. The post is still up and getting likes from some of his followers; others are offended and shocked. Hate has no place in our community — particularly at a time when people are dying and afraid. Like we did last time, please express your outrage, condemn this hate and demand he resign. Maybe this time, he will. #ShameOnHim #ShareAndShameHim.”
Lucas said he is shocked by the response he has gotten, and he has also received support from many of his constituents.
“I think it’s just disgusting that people try to make this an issue about race,” Lucas said. “One, it’s not (racist). Two, there are too many people that are looking to be offended by something. I think this is just indicative to where we are as a society and one of the reasons why we are so divided. We take little, minor things like this and blow it so far out of proportion.”
Lucas, a former Marine and small businessman in Seymour, has held his office since 2012. He has been criticized for his use of social media on multiple occasions.
This past August, Lucas defended himself after commenting on a WISH-TV’s Facebook page article about Marquise Dozier, who had pleaded guilty to three counts of rape in Allen County.
Lucas commented on the story link by posting a photo of a set of gallows and told the television station the comment was not about race, but another four-letter word which begins with “R” — rape, and his belief that people like Dozier should get the death penalty.
“That was a picture I had used dozens of times for several prior months for white murders, child molesters and rapists,” Lucas said. “I used the same picture. It was a picture of the gallows, which is a government-sanctioned tool used for punishment. That particular photo is of one in Tuscon, Arizona, that’s in a state park. I used that picture for a man that was a serial rapist. He happened to be black and people made an issue out of it and leveled the same accusations. I saw a rapist, not a black rapist or a white rapist, but a rapist.”
In 2017, Lucas posted a letter stating women should arm themselves to avoid becoming “rape victims.” That same year, he shared an image responding to the Women’s March that showed a police officer pepper-spraying a woman in the face. The image read: “Participation trophies now in liquid form.”
In 2016, Lucas shared a meme of a woman trapped in the trunk of a car with the caption “Wanna know who loves you more: your wife or your dog? Lock them both in your trunk and see who’s happy to see you when you let them out.”
Lucas said he doesn’t plan on changing his social media habits and that he believes politicians should act like “normal people” on the sites.
“I’m just an average person that ran for government. I didn’t change,” Lucas said. “How respected are politicians? What are politicians approval ratings? We’re just normal people. We’re not different than anybody else. I don’t know why people think we should be treated different. Maybe that’s the problem.”