A white politician in Virginia reportedly addressed a black reporter as “boy” at a meeting on Monday, but then tried to backpedal quickly.
Augusta County Supervisor Tracy Pyles, an independent who has run for office as a Democrat in the past, was apparently critcizing reporter Calvin Trice, 43, of the Virginia News Leader newspaper when the offending remark took place.
“You got it wrong, boy — uh, son,” Pyles told the reporter, according to the Virginia News Leader.
“That has bothered me,” Pyles later told the paper. “It certainly came out, and then I went to ‘son.'”
The News Leader reported that Trice, as well as others present at the briefing, were offended by the way Pyles addressed him.
“The context was obviously angry and that’s a term that when its been used against me was a racial slur, a put down,” Trice told his newspaper.
Pyles said it’s just the way he talks, even to those who are dearest to him.
“It’s the way I talk to my sons here,” he said, according to the News Leader. “As soon as it left my mouth, I knew it was going to be misinterpreted.”
“I have boys,” Pyles continued. “‘Listen boy, you can’t do that.’ That’s the way I talk to them. The fact that I think of Calvin no differently than I do anybody else, it came out, but I know the world looks at things differently.”
Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify that Pyles was criticizing the reporter during the meeting, but they were not engaged in an argument.