Racial Tension Felt in Some Sections of the Florida Legislature

The chairman of a powerful House committee is under fire in Tallahassee after the Miami Herald quoted four sources who allege they heard him use the "N word” to describe Miami Dade's black school superintendent.

The alleged incident took center stage for many at the Capitol Friday.

While the state House debated big issues, black lawmakers were seething behind the scenes, meeting to discuss an alleged racial slur by Miami State Rep. Ralph Arza.

Arza was out of the House chamber most of the day with his office door locked.

Arza did appear in the chamber just before lunch, conferred with colleagues, shook a few hands and then went into a closed door, hour-long meeting with African-American legislators.

Afterward, Black Caucus Vice Chairman Bruce Antone of Orlando said much is still up in the air.

Fellow House members call the incident unfortunate. Arza is said to be contemplating speaking with the man to whom the “N word” remark was directed to before making a public statement.


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