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Senator Under Fire For Racially Insensitive Question At Hearing On Racism

Ohio Senate

A Republican state senator has lost his job as an emergency room doctor after asking a racially insensitive question at a hearing on a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. The lawmaker has issued a statement saying his question was “unintentionally awkward” and “perceived as hurtful”, but he did not apologize for it. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Sen.ator Steve Huffman can barely be heard on the video of the hearing questioning the head of the Ohio Minority Health Commission about COVID-19 hitting black Ohioans disproportionately hard. But Shibani Chettri heard him.

“He basically said, could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as some other groups?”

Chettri, a PhD candidate in epidemiology at Ohio State who was there to testify for the resolution, said she was horrified.

“He had his question answered and then he dismissed everything that was presented to him.”

And she adds:

“It just exemplified everything we were talking about, I think.”

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and the ACLU of Ohio are among those who called on Huffman to resign.


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