A white legislator from Maryland reportedly was confronted this week by fellow lawmakers and forced to apologize after she allegedly referred to one of the state’s predominantly black counties as a “n—er district.”
Her apologies came after each of the seven members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland executive committee told her how they felt upon learning that their colleague allegedly used the racial slur.
Second term Delegate, Mary Ann Lisanti, 51, a Democrat representing Harford County, allegedly was speaking to a white colleague late last month during an “after-hours gathering” at an Annapolis cigar bar when she uttered the racial slur.
Del. Lisanti reportedly told the colleague that she told a white colleague that when he campaigned in Prince George’s on behalf of a candidate last fall he was door-knocking in a “n—– district,” according to the Washington Post.
“I’m sure everyone has used it,” said Lisanti, 51, during an interview with the newspaper.
Confronted by The Post earlier this month and asked about her alleged use of the word: “I don’t recall that,” Lisanti said. “I don’t recall much of that evening.”
Asked whether she has ever used the slur before, the second-term lawmaker said: “I’m sure I have … I’m sure everyone has used it. I’ve used the f-word. I used the Lord’s name in vain.”
Lisanti reportedly was questioned again Monday night about the incident — this time by members of Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus. Only then did she give her apology.
“She apologized several times,” Delegate Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s) told the Post. “She recognizes how she has hurt so many within the caucus, and she hoped to repent from this.”
Lisanti was in front of a racially mixed group of legislators when she allegedly made her remark about Prince George’s County. She had been discussing her white colleague’s campaign efforts last fall — which included knocking on doors in Prince George’s County, one of richest majority-black communities in the US, according to the Post.
“There is no place in the House of Delegates for any racial slurs — or slurs of any kind in society in general,” said House Speaker Michael E. Busch [D-Anne Arundel].
Lisanti Tuesday, though released a statement saying she would be stepping down as chair of the unemployment insurance subcommittee on the House Economic Matters Committee.
“I understand that the use of inappropriate and insensitive language is not acceptable under any circumstance,” Lisanti said. “I am sorry for the hurt I have caused and will do everything I can to help heal that pain and regain the trust of my colleagues and constituents. I pray for forgiveness.”
Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), who chairs the Black Caucus, said Lisanti appeared contrite during the meeting.
“She apologized several times,” Barnes said. “She recognizes how she has hurt so many within the caucus, and she hoped to repent from this. She said that she doesn’t remember fully what happened, but she recognizes what happened.”
Barnes said he was “really disturbed” by accounts of what Lisanti said, and he wants her to apologize to the entire caucus and participate in sensitivity training. He left open the possibility that the caucus might offer other recommendations to House leadership.