On Tuesday, after Gary O’Connor, the chair of the Lamar County Democratic Party in Texas, had offered his resignation in the wake of blowback for calling Senator Tim Scott an “oreo” on Facebook, the Lamar County Democratic Party declared it would not accept his resignation.
O’Connor had written after Scott’s rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union speech, “I had hoped that Scott might show some common sense, but it seems clear he is little more than an oreo with no real principles.”
According to Merriam-Webster, the term “oreo” is a disparaging word that means “a black person who adopts the characteristic mentality and behavior of white middle-class society.” The Urban Dictionary explains it as a derogatory term meaning “black on the outside, white on the inside.”
The Lamar County Democratic Party told The Texas Tribune that they had used the “last few days to reflect upon this incident,” adding, “Lamar County Democrats recommit ourselves to conduct our private conversations and our public social media discussions with anti-racist, pro-reconciling attitudes and language. We strongly condemn bigotry of any kind and will continue our historic efforts to work for justice and equality for all our fellow citizens.”
The Tribune acknowledged that O’Connor had sent a letter to Scott apologizing for calling him an “oreo”; O’Connor had already told the Washington Examiner:
I am deeply and sincerely sorry for my inappropriate and hurtful use of racist term I used to describe Sen. Tim Scott on my personal Facebook page. It was insensitive, and I have embarrassed myself and my party by its use. As a result, I feel compelled to offer my resignation as chair of the Lamar County Democratic Party for consideration by the County Executive Committee.
In a statement to the Tribune, O’Connor added, “To Sen. Tim Scott, the residents of Lamar County, especially our Black residents, and to my family and friends, I profoundly apologize for the racially insensitive remark I made towards Sen. Scott last week. I was wrong and I apologize.”
After O’Connor’s reported slur, Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott responded on Twitter, “This is disgusting, hateful, and completely unacceptable. O’Connor must apologize to @SenatorTimScott & step down immediately. @texasdemocrats censure him.”
This is disgusting, hateful, and completely unacceptable.
O’Connor must apologize to @SenatorTimScott & step down immediately. @texasdemocrats censure him.https://t.co/wJLTqaHlLb
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 1, 2021
Retired Lt. Col. Allen West, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, issued a blistering video before O’Connor resigned in which West stated:
You know, a lot of people on the Democratic Party side continue to talk about how Republicans and people who don’t agree with them are white supremacists or racists. The fact that we want election laws, that makes us “Jim Crow.” Well, the Democrats were the ones who started Jim Crow. But just recently, a former colleague of mine, Senator Tim Scott, well, some Texas Democrat county chairman from Lamar County, Gary O’Connor, referred to Senator Tim Scott as an “oreo.”
Holding up an unopened package of Oreos, West continued:
So I think I will just walk over to the Texas Democrat party or mail it to them, a nice little package of Oreos, because until this guy resigns, I am going to stand up and speak out against the party of systemic racism, the party of the soft bigotry of low expectations. They want to call people such as myself that don’t believe in them, that don’t want to be on the 21st(century) economic plantation “Oreos.” I want to make sure that we send Oreos to the Texas Democrat party because I am sick and tired of the duplicitous hypocrisy of the true party of racism.
I have a gift — and a message — for #LamarCountyDemocrats Chair Gary O'Connor, and the @texasdemocrats. pic.twitter.com/9q9d3ntRY7
— Allen West (@AllenWest) May 4, 2021