Alabama Political Reporter
An email that was sent by Representative Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) sent the House of Representatives into a tailspin on Wednesday after the Alabama House Black Caucus said the email was racist.
Greer’s email was centered around a psychological experiment that involved conditioning monkeys to change their behavior through punishment by spraying water on them.
The full email is included below.
“Subject: POLITICS Psychology
You start with a cage containing four monkeys, and inside the cage you hang a banana on a string, and then you place a set of stairs under the banana.
Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.
You then spray ALL the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt. As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray ALL the monkeys with cold water.
Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new monkey. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, ALL of the of other monkeys beat the crap out of him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original four monkeys, replacing it with new monkey.
The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment – with enthusiasm – because he is now part of the “team.”
Then, replace a third original monkey with a new monkey, followed by the fourth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.
Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs.
Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. Having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water.
Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the Banana.
Why, you ask? Because in their minds, that is the way it has always been!
This is how today’s House and Senate operates, and this is why from time to time, ALL of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME!
DISCLAIMER: This is meant as no disrespect to monkeys.***”
The email was taken as racist by the Black Caucus who said Greer was referring to black members of the Legislature as monkeys. Representative John Knight (D-Montgomery) said the email was sent out this morning around 10:00 a.m. and was sent to a member of their caucus.
“We have been subjected to the most racial insult I’ve ever seen,” Knight said.
The members wanted to address the email on the House floor but the House went to recces immediately after reconvening at 2:00 p.m.
“This is a sad day for Alabama,” Knight said. “This is a sad day for the Alabama Legislature.”
The email comes at a time when tensions in the House are high over a new redistricting bill proposed by Republicans over the past few weeks.
The Democrats in the House and Senate have been fighting the bill with delay tactics such as having the bills read at their full length and filibustering motions proposed by Republicans. This has taken hours to complete.
With Greer’s email, Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) said the House Democrats will now ramp up the delay tactics in response to what he calls a “totally racist” email.
“We’re going to slow everything down to a crawl,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the email was like a “pimp slap” to his face.
In a statement by Greer, he said the email was sent to him by a constituent and he just forwarded the email to his colleagues in the Legislature.
He said he did not intend for the email to be racist but rather demonstrate the current mindset of Congress and the Legislature. He said the email applied to all incumbents and not just black law makers.
Greer did apologize for the email but Knight said the filibuster will continue.