Ohio State Sen. Asks if 'Colored Population' Has Higher Covid Rates Because 'They Don't Wash Their Hands As Well'


  • Ohio State Senator Steve Huffman

Ohioans are getting to know the names of a whole bunch of statewide legislators in 2020 for all the wrong reasons.

This week's entry:

Republican State Sen. Steve Huffman, who is also a doctor, yesterday in a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis asked the Director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health if the disproportionate infection rates for COVID-19 among Blacks was.... "Could it just be that African Americans – the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear a mask? Or do not socially distance themselves? Could that just be maybe the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?”

This, State Rep. Stephanie Howse said, was not only offensive but also pretty clear evidence of why racism should be declared a public health crisis in Ohio.

“He highlights what racism is from a systematic perspective. He’s a full legislator but beyond that, professionally, he’s a doctor. 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?” Howse told the Dayton Daily News.

Huffman, who reps Senate District 5 near Dayton, issued a statement last night made up of words that appeared in general sentence order: “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.”

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