Old messages have resurfaced on social media in which Indiana State Sen. Andy Zay claimed that “racism is not real” and that white males are a minority.
Zay is a small business owner turned politician who has held his position in the state Senate since 2016, replacing former State Sen. Jim Banks, who resigned after winning the election for Indiana’s third Congressional District.
In 2015, Zay participated in an exchange of messages with a reporter that have since come back into the spotlight as his term is set to end this year and he is running again. A group called Indiana Progressive Liberals shared screenshots from the conversation on Facebook.
In the messages, Zay insisted that minimum wage and affirmative action were useless and that white males are being “discriminated against” because they cannot benefit from measures that are meant to level the playing field for marginalized groups.
“Minimum wage is really nothing more than another way of the government telling me how to run my business,” Zay wrote.
He also insisted that his workers at Zay Leasing & Rentals Inc. didn’t even want minimum wage or benefits.
“In the past when I have offered more money or a plan to contribute to retirement or help with their insurance, they decline,” the state senator wrote, referring to his own employees. “They want more time with their family and some money.”
He went on to say that, “people need to fail, fight, overcome, work hard, and make their way, not have it handed to them because the government says so.”
Throughout the conversation, Zay continued spewing the rhetoric that often comes from the mouths of conservatives, arguing that everyone needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, so to speak, to attain the success they desire.
However, that logic completely ignores the social and economic obstacles minorities face in America. Minorities are not considered marginalized groups because they simply don’t work hard enough; it is because systemic oppression and racism has deliberately and strategically made minority communities disadvantaged.
“More white males are refused college, medical schools, and law schools than any other group,” Zay wrote. “Yes there are more, but these so called minorities are given way more opportunity to succeed and be a part of successful programs than the average white male.”
Clearly, this man is delusional.
Adding insult to injury, he threw in some offensive remarks about then-President Barack Obama which, supposedly, he copied and pasted from an anti-Obama black man as a means of validating his own stance.
“Obama not only HATES America, he is working overtime to destroy it! His socialist, Muslim, black theology, upbringing drives him,” read the message, which Zay clarified were not his own words and came from the unnamed African-American Facebook user’s post.
Nevertheless, his decision to quote this person suggests that he agreed with the sentiment.
In response, the reporter called out Zay’s blatant bigotry, which Zay denied and refuted by asserting that “I have friends of all races and ethnicities and have them as friends and customers.”
“I did go to Indiana University,” Zay said, according to the online biography. “But short from that little escape, I’ve had about four addresses in Huntington County my entire life.”
In addition to his privilege and conservative political views, the fact that he comes from a predominantly white area that he has never moved away from is, likely, a strong driving force behind his absurd outlook on society.
In fact, even the reporter pointed out in their discussion that although affirmative action may be moot in Huntington, there are other places in the country where it is necessary.
“As for affirmative action, it may not be needed in Huntington, but if you have ever been to the south, you would understand that affirmative action is a very important thing,” the journalist wrote. “Racism is still very real in the south. Racism is still very real in Huntington too but it is fewer and farther between.”
Zay is a small-minded individual who should not be moving up the political ladder and serving as a representative for the state of Indiana. Zay may not be flat-out racist in the sense that he hates people for the color of their skin, but he is certainly ignorant and choosing to turn a blind-eye to real issues that don't affect him, and his remarks in his messages are proof.
Granted, the aforementioned conversation is more than three years old now, but it would appear that Zay’s eyes are still closed to the realities of our society as his official campaign Facebook page includes recent pictures with cardboard cutouts of President Donald Trump.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Daniel Schwen