A North Carolina man was all over online media Friday night after arguing at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland that slavery gave "shelter and food" to slaves.
The statements by Scott Terry were made during a CPAC panel session aimed at improving conservatives' outreach among minority voters.
According to ThinkProgress, a left-wing blog that was the first to report the flap, Terry asked conservative African-American presenter K. Carl Smith whether Republicans could endorse racial separatism.
"It seems to me that you're reaching out to voters that might fit the program you're speaking of at the expense of young, white, Southern males like myself," Terry told Smith in the video provided by ThinkProgress.
"I feel like my people – my demographic, people like myself – are being systematically disenfranchised," Terry said.
Smith answered Terry's question by telling him that Frederick Douglass wrote a letter to his former master "and said to him, I forgive you for all the things you did to me."
"For giving him shelter and food?" Terry asked Smith.
Some in the audience laughed. Others cheered and clapped.
According to ThinkProgress:
After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “Why can’t we just have segregation?” He noted the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association.
When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said, “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa” and that “all the tea parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.
At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”
He claimed to be a direct descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Smith, the presenter, released a statement to TPM late Friday saying that, despite "some racially insensitive comments," Terry later came to understand Smith's point and the two "left as friends."
Smith also said an African-American reporter caused even more disruption at the panel when she "rudely interrupted" him with questions.
The story caught fire on left-leaning sites but quickly reached mainstream outlets like Gawker and Wonkette.