COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH/NBC New) – An Ohio state senator has been fired from his job as an emergency room doctor after he made controversial comments about African Americans and COVID-19.
During a hearing about whether racism should be declared a public health crisis, State Senator Steve Huffman asked if the “colored population” was more severely impacted by the coronavirus simply because they don’t wash their hands.
Huffman directed that question to the executive director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health.
He has since taken criticism from leaders across the country, including one state leader who says Huffman’s comments are “dismissive of the real health disparities black people have been experiencing for generations.”
“When people talk about the statistics about black people not getting the care that their supposed to get because doctors don’t believe them. They don’t believe their pain; they don’t give them the love and care. Senator Huffman just displayed it for the world to see,” Ohio State Representative Stephanie Howse said.
Huffman later issued a statement saying “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 American Civil Liberties Union and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation have called on Huffman to resign.
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