Mississippi state senator’s Tweet about Chinese balloon sparks outrage, accusations of racism

Published 12:03 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

A Mississippi State Senator’s post on Twitter about the Chinese spy balloon that traveled across U.S. airspace last week has sparked accusations of racism on the Internet.

Mississippi Sen. Joel R. Carter, Jr. posted an image of a weather balloon superimposed with the words “Weather Barroon” and “Totary NOT For Spying.”

As of noon Monday, the photo and Tweet had been viewed more than 1.3 million times, received more than 2,500 comments and been retweeted more than 680 times.

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Representing the 49th District, Carter joined the chorus of Republicans blasting the Biden administration over the incident.

GOP lawmakers on Sunday accused China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon and said the Biden administration had given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace.

Carter was among those officials who were critical of how the incident was handled. But his Tweet using a mock Asian accent immediately drew backlash on Twitter, with many calling him out for blatant racism.

“Does the ‘R.’ in your name stand for ‘Racist’?” attorney and MSNBC host Katie S. Phang wrote under Carter’s tweet.

“Might as well have been your big white hood that was floating up there,” Entrepreneur Dave Lu replied,

“I hope someone on your staff is competent enough to tell you that this is a racist post,” pastor and Asian American Christian Collaborative President Raymond Chang commented.