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Tone deaf! Republican state senator Steve Huffman, a trained physician, asks if ‘colored population is hit harder by coronavirus because they don’t wash their hands as often as other groups?’

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Ohio republican state senator Steve Huffman has tried to walkback a racially tone  deaf question he asked during a Senate Health Committee on Tuesday   
Huffman asked: ‘Could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups?’
Sen. Steve Huffman, an emergency room physician from R-Tipp City, has worked as a doctor in Ohio for 18 years  
By implying that black people were dirty and lacked the intelligence to wash their hands, Huffman’s comment highlight racism from a systemic perspective in America –  Stephanie Howse, Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President
Huffman in a statement said …’Regrettably, I asked a question in an unintentionally awkward way that was perceived as hurtful and was exactly the opposite of what I meant, I was trying to focus on why COVID-19 affects people of color at a higher rate since we really do not know all the reasons.’  

‘That is not the opinion of leading medical experts in this country,’ Dawson, who is black, replied. The virus attacks the respiratory system, making people with pre-existing conditions more at risk, Dawson adds.
Shortly after the hearing, Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Stephanie Howse, a Democrat from Cleveland, said Huffman’s comment highlights racism from a systemic perspective, adding that he implied African Americans were dirty and lacked the intelligence to wash their hands, Dayton Daily News reported.

Steve Huffman 2Huffman, [right], who is a trained emergency room physician, said ‘Regrettably, I asked a question in an unintentionally awkward way that was perceived as hurtful and was exactly the opposite of what I meant’, the statement reads.  ‘I was trying to focus on why COVID-19 affects people of color at a higher rate since we really do not know all the reasons.’  

‘He highlights what racism is from a systematic [systemic] perspective. He’s a full legislator but beyond that, professionally, he’s a doctor,’ she told the newspaper.
‘When we talk about the health disparities that happen because black folks aren’t believed when they’re actually hurt, they aren’t given the treatment that they need.
‘Do you think that someone who acknowledges the ‘coloreds’ is going to give the love and care that people need when they come through those doors?’
Huffman released a statement saying that he asked the question in ‘an unintentionally awkward way’ and that he was trying to find an explanation for the trend ‘since we really do not know all the reasons’.
‘Regrettably, I asked a question in an unintentionally awkward way that was perceived as hurtful and was exactly the opposite of what I meant’, the statement reads.
‘I was trying to focus on why COVID-19 affects people of color at a higher rate since we really do not know all the reasons.’
John Fortney, spokesman for Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, told the Beacon Journal: ‘I know the president addressed it by speaking with Senator Huffman and also talked with committee members.’
He added that the Senate would be taking part in a ‘listening tour’ on racial issues.
‘The upcoming conversations may be uncomfortable at times, but that is how we learn and move forward for a better Ohio,’ he said.

 

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