Republican Ohio state Sen. Steven Huffman asked Tuesday if the “colored population” was more likely to get coronavirus because they “do not wash their hands as well.”
Huffman asked the questions at a Senate hearing on Tuesday which sought to determine whether racism was a public health crisis. (RELATED: ‘I Called For Help And This Is The Help That I Get’: Father Speaks Out After Claiming Son Was Shot For Pointing Pellet Gun At Officers)
Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health Angela Dawson gave a statement outlining why the pandemic would affect communities with a preexisting health disparity.
“But why does it not make them more susceptible to just get COVID?” Huffman asked. “Could it just be that African Americans or 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 be the explanation for why the higher incidence? Do all populations need to wash their hands?”
“Absolutely, sir,” Dawson replied, “but that is not where you are going to find the variance and the rationale for why these populations are more vulnerable.”
This right here???????? is the underlying implicit bias/covert racism that was in the question. The implication was that Black people are less hygenic/clean which clearly isn’t the truth. This is why we need to declare #RacismIsAPublicHealthCrisis https://t.co/MTeRvV2APM
— Rep. Erica Crawley (@EricaCCrawley) June 10, 2020
“Huffman highlights what racism is from a systematic perspective,” Democratic Ohio Rep. Stephanie Howse, president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, told the Dayton Daily News.
Huffman told the Washington Post that he strongly disputes the critiques and that his words were “taken out of context.”
“Anybody that comes into any emergency room, I give them the very best care regardless of what race they are,” Huffman said. Huffman is a practicing physician.