The Kendall Republican is under fire after his slur-filled tirade in front of two black legislators at a private dinner Monday night went public. During the awkward exchange with state senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston, Artiles called six fellow Republicans “niggas” because they voted for Joe Negron as Senate president. He also insulted Gibson by describing her as “this fucking asshole” and “this bitch.”
Artiles says that he was upset, that he'd had too much to drink, and that he grew up in Hialeah. That’s a bunch of bullshit. He used derogatory words intending to hurt someone. Artiles revealed his true self by using the word “niggas” to describe his white colleagues. This type of behavior doesn’t happen overnight.
During the 2016 election, Artiles went out of his way to smear his Democratic opponent, then-state Sen. Dwight Bullard, who is black. Artiles aired a Spanish-language TV ad falsely telling voters that Bullard “voted to release violent criminals and sexual delinquents in our community.” In another advertisement attacking Bullard, Artiles described the Black Lives Matter movement as a “terrorist organization.”
Some people will defend Artiles by saying black people use “nigga” all the time when speaking to one another. But African-Americans can’t go around calling Cubans “spics” or “wetbacks” without facing consequences. In fact, I have never used ethnic slurs when addressing my Latino friends. My mother and father didn’t raise me that way. The same can’t be said about Artiles. Most likely, he grew up believing that bigotry is OK.
In 2014, Artiles was secretly taped using the word "haji" to describe Middle Easterners. The same year, he denied punching a college student in a Tallahassee bar.
Artiles doesn’t deserve to represent Miami-Dade County. A petition posted online this morning demanding his resignation immediately drew hundreds of signatures.