Indiana Black Caucus Calls For Reprimand Of House Lawmakers, Implicit Bias Training

Feb 23, 2021

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) has been calling for implicit bias training for lawmakers since last year.
Credit (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus isn’t satisfied with the response to last week’s incidents in the House that culminated with lawmakers having to be physically separated from each other.

Black Democratic lawmakers were booed and heckled last week by some Republicans after raising concerns about what they saw as discrimination in a piece of legislation. There were then multiple altercations between Republicans and members of the Black Caucus.

IBLC Chair Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) said there should be reprimands for all involved – but that they don’t need to be punitive.

“We have to acknowledge and also address what happened," Shackleford said. "We can’t just sweep it under the rug and continue to move forward.”

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) addressed the chamber both Thursday and Monday, pledging to do a better job of enforcing decorum. 

Shackleford also continued to call for implicit bias training for all lawmakers.

“They personally feel like we’re calling them racist," Shackleford said. "They don’t understand the difference between arguing a policy and taking it personally. So, that’s where the education can come in.”

Asked directly, Shackleford said she believes some members of the House Republican caucus are racist.

Huston would only say he looks forward to continuing conversations about implicit bias training.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.