OK, right now I am sitting in a gourmet Italian deli, and the royal wedding is playing on the television. The deli is owned by a Black man. This is the third business that he has bought and nurtured into a successful local hot spot. He has been working in the food business since he was in middle school, and works long days to make his business a success. And on the television are two privileged young white folks who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter, and who never have to worry about working to earn the money needed to keep them afloat. To me, it seems kind of ironic considering the recent racist remarks by Representative Sally Kern of Oklahoma:
Outspoken Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern has caused outrage by making both racist and sexist remarks during a state House debate on Wednesday night.
The House met to discuss a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate affirmative action from state government.
During the debate, Republican Kern said minorities earn less money than white people because they are not willing to work as hard…..
Speaking about black people she said: ‘Is this just because they are black that they are in prison, or could it be because they didn’t want to work hard in school.
‘I taught school for 20 years and I saw a lot of people of colour that didn’t want to work as hard. They wanted it given to them.
‘Matter of fact, I had one student who said to me I don’t need to study. You want to know why? The government’s going to take care of me. That’s kind of revealing there.’ Kern also said that women do not work as hard as men, because they want to spend more time with their families and to have more leisure time. Of course, a day later, Kern apologized, obviously in an effort to save face (and her job) :
She said: ‘I want to humbly apologize for my statements last night about African Americans and women. I believe that our government should not provide preference based on race or gender. ‘I misspoke while trying to convey this point last night during debate. Women are some of the hardest workers in the world. My husband is a pastor of a diverse inner-city church and the way that my words came out last night is certainly not my true spirit.’ By now this should be pretty familiar to everyone. A law maker makes some outrageous racist statement, showing their true colors, the quickly tries to put out the firestorm they created with their bigoted remarks. Ironically, though, this time Kern possibly provided the best evidence possible in favor of affirmative action. I mean, really, what better than a blatantly racist statement to prove that hatred is alive and well, and that affirmative action is needed now more than ever??
The Oklahoma Democratic Party took the opportunity to retaliate and use her comment against Republicans as a whole by saying: ”Rep Sally Kern’s comments on the House Floor this evening in regards to SJR15 shows that discrimination is far from dead and affirmative action is still necessary in our great state.
‘It saddens and angers me that the women and minorities of Oklahoma are represented by such bigotry and outright ignorance.
‘This rhetoric will drive new businesses and new jobs from our state. All no votes on this bill will stand on the right side of history.’Unfortunately, while Kern actually came out and stated her feeling regarding Black people, apparently many other Oklahoma legislators silently agree with her sentiments. The proposed ban on affirmative action passed in the house 59 – 14, and has already been approved by the Senate.
Of course, while Oklahoma lawmakers are passing laws against affirmative action, they are totally neglecting the fact that most of them have benefited throughout their lives from being part of the group that receives the most widespread race and gender based preferences: white males.
Representative Kern needs to look at her own statement. While she is complaining about a single Black student saying that he didn’t need to study because the government would take care of him, how many white students run around every day firm in the belief that they do not have to work hard or study because they have “the right connections” needed for success and that “Mommy and Daddy will take care of me”?