Things That Matter

Ohio Senator Who Asked Question About COVID Infections In ‘Colored’ Community Fired As ER Physician

Update June 21, 2020, 2:39 p.m. PST: Ohio State Senator Stephen A. Huffman has been fired from his job as an emergency room physician. The senator made national headlines after a hearing about declaring racism a public health crisis.

Ohio State Senator Stephen A. Huffman is no longer employed by TeamHealth.

The Tennessee-based TeamHealth, a network of hospitals in the state. The senator’s comments about the African-American community and their COVID-19 rates. The senator then tried to clarify his comments saying that he thought “colored population” was interchangeable with “people of color.”

“Dr. Huffman’s comments are wholly inconsistent with our values and commitment to creating a tolerant and diverse workplace,” a company spokesman said in a statement, according to NBC News. “TeamHealth has terminated Dr. Huffman’s employment.”

Original: Ohio State Senator Stephen A. Huffman is facing backlash after comments he made during a hearing about making racism a public health crisis. The senator is being accused of racism after using offensive language to refer to people of color.

Ohio State Senator Stephen Huffman asked if the “colored population” had higher rates of COVID-19 due to hygiene.

The senator was in a hearing to discuss if racism should be deemed a public health crisis. The senator used the time to ask if the African-American community was contracting COVID-19 ar higher rates because they aren’t as good with hygiene. Specifically, Sen. Huffman wanted to know if the “colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups.”

The senator is a doctor in Ohio raising concerns among Ohio residents.

The ACLU of Ohio is calling for Sen. Huffman to resign following his comments. Namely, organization officials claim that as a physician for 20 years, Sen. Huffman is fully aware of his comments and what they could do to the community.

“There is no reality where he can remain a member of the Ohio General Assembly and make decisions that affect the very communities he undermines and clearly hold such contemptible attitudes,” said J. Bennett Guess, executive director of the civil liberties organization. “This is what systemic institutionalized racism looks like, and this is how it manifests itself and oppresses the day-to-day lives of people of color.”

The comment is bringing national attention to a statewide race in Ohio.

In the time of Black Lives Matter and COVID-19, people have a lot of time to organize and mobilize using social media. Sen. Huffman is the latest politician to catch their attention because of his offensive language.

His colleagues are joining the constituents asking for him to leave the seat.

Sen. Huffman is one of 24 Republican members of the Ohio Senate. There are 34 members total and 9 are Democrats. Sen. Huffman won his seat in 2019 and Ohio senators are elected to 4-year terms.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Huffman claims that the quote was an unfortunate choice of words. He also said that he thought that “colored population” was the same as people of color.

“People of color would have been better, but they seem to be interchangeable,” Sen. Huffman told The Washington Post.

READ: Latino Homes Are Experiencing The Highest Rate Of The Worst COVID-19 Symptoms

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