February 9, 2015 12:18 PM EST

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal responded with humor Monday when asked about controversy over a portrait that depicts the Indian-American governor with light skin.

“You mean I’m not white?” he joked at a Christian Science-Monitor breakfast.

The portrait in question, which shows Jindal with skin shades darker than it actually is, attracted widespread ridicule on Twitter, including questions like “Who’s the white guy?” A spokesperson for the governor accused bloggers discussing the Jindal’s skin color in the portrait of “race-baiting” last week, and Jindal described the uproar as “silly” on Monday.

“I think the left is obsessed with race,” Jindal said Monday. “I think the dumbest thing we can do is to try to divide people by the color of their skin…. This is nonsense. We’re all Americans.”

Jindal, a potential contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination, has been an outspoken critic of thinking in racial terms. In a 2013 Politico op-ed, he decried the “age of hyphenated Americans.”

“It’s time for the end of race in America,” he wrote. “Now that would be progress.”

– Additional reporting by Zeke J. Miller

MORE: Why a Bobby Jindal Portrait Sparked a Racial Controversy

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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