Maryland Lawmaker Apologizes For Calling Majority-Black County A ‘N****r District’, Steps Down From House Subcommittee

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Written by Ann Brown
Mary Ann Lisanti
Maryland Del. Mary Ann Lisanti talks to reporters after the House of Delegates voted to censure her on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 in Annapolis, Md., for making a racial slur about a majority-black county. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

A Maryland lawmaker used a racial slur to describe a majority-Black county in suburban Washington and now she’s in hot water.

“Del. Mary Ann Lisanti (D-Harford), who is white, allegedly told a white colleague that campaigning in Prince George’s County on behalf of another candidate amounted to door-knocking in a ‘nigger district,’” reported The Washington Post.

Although Lisanti apologized for using a racial slur and was briefly censured and stripped of her responsibilities, there are some who doubt she can represent “all” of her constituents. She also stepped down from a House subcommittee. Still, there are those calling for her to step down completey.


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The population of Prince George’s County is 65 percent Black, and is one of the most affluent majority-Black counties in the county, according to the Census Bureau. Harford, where Lisantia is from, is 80 percent white.

Lisanti apologized not only to the public and to the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.

“I am sickened that a word that is not in my vocabulary came out of my mouth,” Lisanti said in a statement. “It does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what is my heart.”

But this hasn’t swayed many. “It is clear Delegate Lisanti is unsuited to continue in a position of leadership in the Maryland General Assembly,” the Black Caucus statement said. “The use of a derogatory term exhibits that she does not hold the requisite contrition to be entrusted in a leadership role moving forward.”

In fact, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland also called on Lisanti to undergo racial sensitivity training. She has agreed to attend.

“I understand that the use of inappropriate and insensitive language is not acceptable under any circumstance,” she wrote in her statement. “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.”


About Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.