LePage was angry that Democratic State Rep. Drew Gattine called allegedly him a racist, although Gattine denied doing so, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Judging by the voicemail released by the Herald, LePage apparently decided to settle the matter by calling Gattine expletives and demanding he "prove" the governor is a racist.
"Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker. I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I'm a racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker. You, I need you to, just friggin'. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you."
In a follow up interview with the press LePage wished he could challenge Gattine to an old school "1825" duel, according to the Herald.
"When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I'd like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825. And we would have a duel, that's how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton."
Although Lepage's comments were probably tone deaf, the intention was to emphasize that he doesn't think of himself as a racist.
However, he's made racially questionable comments in the past. Earlier this week, the governor said that he's collecting a binder of drug dealers that do business in Maine and that most of them "are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx, and Brooklyn," according to ABC News. Earlier this year in January, Lepage said that black drug dealers come to Maine and "impregnate young white girls."
Why don't people who say racist things think that they're racist?
Sandra Trappen, a sociology professor at Hunter College in the City University of New York, wrote in a blog post that many white Americans have the misguided perception that racial equality has gone too far and now they are the victims of discrimination.
"A lot of white people in the U.S. think now that they are the major victims of racism and that black people play the 'race card' against them to gain unfair advantages. In actuality, it is white people who are playing the race card when they attack people of color for calling out racism and discrimination, or when they try to create spaces for themselves (think BET) that white people are not invited to be part of."
Further, most people simply want to believe they are "good."
The reason a lot of people don’t see what she said as racist is because they believe racism necessarily implies hatred. So, unless she were to come out and say “I sure hate black people and think I am better than they are because I am a white person,” they do not understand how it could be racist. It also implies “being a bad person” and most people, generally speaking, think of themselves as “good people” with “good hearts.”
As ATTN: previously wrote modern racism doesn't often manifest through cross burning and "whites only" spaces, like it did in the past.
University of Southern California law professor Jody Armour told ATTN: earlier this month that racism includes systemic and institutional racism as well as prejudice.
"You could have everybody wake up tomorrow without any racism or prejudice in their minds, everybody was just another human being like it was the Rapture, and nobody looked at color." Armour said. "Black people would still have a fraction of the wealth of white people. Black people would still be stuck in neighborhoods without adequate resources or impoverished schools. And they would still be stuck in those schools. The legacy of racism is something that can operate in the absence of psychological racism."