A mayor in Texas has apologised for brusquely referring to a Latino councillor as 'boy'.

Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell issued the apology to councilman Cody Ray Wheeler after the Monday (27 March) incident - although he denied there was any racial motive for the comment.

Isbell, who is white, said during a discussion about an upcoming vote that Wheeler should 'speak up', referring to him as 'boy'.

Prior to a vote, Councilman Wheeler said that he hadn't had the opportunity to speak yet, to which Mayor Isbell responded: "Well, you best speak up, boy!" reports KHOU.

Wheeler reportedly responded: "Excuse me? That's very offensive. I'm a council member of the city. Don't call me boy."

"Act like it. Act like it," Isbell replied.

As the exchange continued, Wheeler told Isbell: ""Don't talk to me like that again. Don't call me 'boy'."

"Sounds like a threat," Isbell replied.

However, the mayor has today (29 March) issued an apology for his comments, adding there was no racist undertone intended – despite the fact that the term 'boy' has long been associated with the belittling of people from minority groups.

In his statement apologising for the incident, Isbell said the phrase 'boy' was often used during sports, and explained he did not agree with people who called the comment 'racist'.

He said: "I apologise to Councilman Wheeler for my comment during yesterday's City Council meeting.

"I agree that the term could be construed as inappropriate and that City Council members should be addressed more respectfully.

"What I don't agree with is those who have called the comment 'racist'. There was no racial component in my mind whatsoever."