The legendary baseball player himself was widely respected for his civil rights activism.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced Thursday she had signed onto a resolution introduced by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to honor baseball legend Hank Aaron, who died in January.
"I joined @SenTuberville's resolution to honor the legacy of Hank Aaron: a baseball legend, civil rights leader, and proud American," Blackburn tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Aaron was regarded as an icon in the sport of baseball and one of its greatest legends. In addition to his fame, he was a champion of civil rights, and frequently faced racist threats as a Black player in a predominantly white field.
The resolution, which was introduced last week and passed by the Senate Wednesday, was sponsored by Tuberville, fellow Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, and Georgia Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Tuberville also has a track record of racist remarks and behavior, from promoting the baseless "birtherism" conspiracy theory, which claims former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, to claiming immigrants from Africa and the Middle East are "bringing all kinds of diseases with them that we don't understand" and are "not educated."
Blackburn's record is equally problematic.
As protests spread across the country following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, Blackburn denounced protesters seeking racial justice and Black Lives Matter, claiming they were 'Marxists' and a threat to the country.
"These people tried to go out the last couple of nights and burn down America, and I will tell you, law enforcement is going to figure out who organized it, who has put this money behind it to give these Antifa members what they need," she claimed. She added that protesters should expect "a knock on [their] door from the FBI."
In July, she tweeted, "The life of every African American matters. But Black Lives Matter is a 501(c)(3) organization run by 'trained Marxists.' We cannot allow our great country to be destroyed under the pretense of social justice."
In January, she was criticized by the ACLU of Tennessee for stating she would vote against the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 election, effectively disenfranchising many voters of color.
The ACLU wrote that such a vote "will also inflict lasting damage to our democratic norms of self-governance."
"This effort is based on false allegations of voter fraud — a trope used throughout our country’s history to target the voting rights and political power of racial minorities, including Black and Brown voters in Tennessee," they added.
Blackburn ultimately voted to uphold the electoral vote certification after the Jan. 6 insurrection by pro-Trump extremists at the U.S. Capitol.
Blackburn has also been criticized for her ties to white supremacist sympathizers.
Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, slammed Blackburn in the aftermath of the deadly "Unite the Right" rally of right-wing white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Mancini claimed that in 2004, Blackburn invited a supporter of white supremacist organizations to deliver the opening prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives.
"This is how we got to this point," Mancini said at the time. "Elected leaders like Rep. Marsha Blackburn have been enabling these racist organizations for years."
In addition to her record of anti-Black racism, Blackburn has been scrutinized for comments targeting people of Asian descent.
In December, she made a racist remark on Twitter claiming China has a "5,000-year history cheating and stealing," prompting Chinese-Americans to mount protests throughout Washington, D.C.
She has also repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and claimed that China "sent this virus to us," echoing racist remarks by Donald Trump that spurred death threats and acts of violence on Asians and Asian Americans.
Blackburn also has only a 25% rating by the NAACP, indicating a long pattern of voting against racial justice and affirmative action.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.