Eric Abetz Thinks It's Ok To Use The Word "Negro" Because Martin Luther King Said It
Conservative senator defends his use of the offensive racial term in a radio interview.
Liberal backbencher Eric Abetz has defended his use of the word "negro" to describe a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in a discussion about same-sex marriage.
But in a statement issued to ABC Radio on Friday afternoon, Abetz stood by his comments.
The U.S. Census Bureau dropped the term in 2013 as a classification of race because many people found it offensive.
Australia's racial discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said many people would still consider the term a racial slur.
"This is the modern reality of racism," he said. "You can cause harm, even if you don't intend to cause harm or even if you're not motivated by malice.
"Sometimes racism is the product of ignorance and isn't necessarily motivated by hatred."