DFL state lawmaker retracts controversial tweet

State Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley,has apologized for calling U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “Uncle Thomas” on Twitter.

Winkler originally took to Twitter to criticize Thomas and the four conservative justices on the Supreme Court for their decision on the Voting Rights Act. Winkler later deleted the tweet after others called him on it.


Winkler also tweeted that he didn’t consider “Uncle Tom” to be a racist term.

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Uncle Tom is a character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The term is considered controversial in some African American circles because it is used to criticize African Americans who will say and do anything to stay in good standing with white cultures.

Winkler, who was considering a run for Minnesota Secretary of State, isn’t shy about making his opinion known both on Twitter and on the floor of the Minnesota House. He later wrote on Twitter that he is no longer considering a run for Secretary of State.

Update: Winkler issued this statement through the MN House Communications Department:

“I was very disappointed today in the Supreme Court decision to roll back key provisions of the Voting Rights Act because I believe the Voting Rights Act is one of the most important steps our nation has taken to eliminate racial discrimination.

 In expressing that disappointment on twitter, I hastily used a loaded term that is offensive to many. My words were inappropriate and I apologize. The implications of this Supreme Court decision are serious for our state and country and I regret that my comments have distracted from the serious dialogue we must have going forward to ensure racial discrimination has no place in our election system.”