( – promoted by DocHoc)
I’m following up on the Kern kerfuffle.
The folks at Talking Points Memo published an article Friday titled: “OK GOPer Apologizes For Saying Black People Don’t Work As Hard.” The full article is here.
The article says, in part;
Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R) has apologized for her comments about black people not working as hard, saying that “my words were, obviously, not spoken correctly and for that I humbly apologize.”
But, she added: “Unfortunately, when we take ‘words or sentences’ out of the total context of a speech debated on the floor, there can be false misrepresentations, but the most important part is to always go to the heart of the matter.”
So, she is saying that her words were not spoken correctly. taken out of context, and misrepresented. Let’s take a look at the transcript she provided:
You know I think that God gave us two ears so that we could hear both sides of the argument. We have heard tonight already that in prison there are more black people. Yes there are and that’s tragic. It’s tragic that our prisons here in Oklahoma, what are they, 99% occupancy? But the other side of the story perhaps we need to consider is this just because they’re black that they’re in prison or could it be because they didn’t want to work hard in school and white people often times don’t want to work hard in school or Asians often times. But a lot of times that’s what happens. I taught school for 20 years and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t want to work as hard, they wanted it given to them. Matter of fact I had one student that said, “I don’t need to study, you know why? The government’s gonna take care of me.” That’s kind of revealing there.
So, talking about the high proportion of blacks in OK prisons, she illustrates her point by saying blacks, whites and Asians (the last two only ‘often times’) don’t want to work hard in school. She goes on to further refine her point by saying “…I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t want to work as hard, they wanted it given to them.” She even cites “…one student that said, “I don’t need to study, you know why? The government’s gonna take care of me.”
Pretty compelling argument – In 20 years of teaching (students at a) school, one student spoke for “…a lot of people of color…” – I’m sure that settles the matter right there!
TPM also said:
Kern said in her statement of apology: “I never intended to convey anything more than all races include people who can be lazy at times. Laziness never accomplishes much for anyone. Certainly laziness is not the reason for this but it can be a contributing factor just as it can be for any other race.”
I hope I don’t misrepresent what she’s trying to say, but I interpret it that what she wanted to say was, ‘All races include people who can be lazy at times and don’t want to work hard in school.’ Unfortunately, my interpretation does nothing to explain the higher proportion of blacks in OK prisons, and neither do her full, in-context words.
So, I stand by my original conclusion, Sally Kern appears to be a racist bigot.
Now, for bonus points, let’s look at some of her other remarks, as reported by TPM:
According to Kern’s transcript, the full quote (which seemingly got a negative reaction from other members of the House) is: “You see women usually don’t want to work as hard as a man because, how I mean, wait a minute, now listen to me, women, hang on, women tend to think a little more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, want to have a little more leisure time. That’s all I mean.”
On the face of it, this seems to be blatant sexism. I’ve heard that you should never attribute to malice, that which can be reasonably explained by stupidity, so I’ll give Kern the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps what she meant to say was ‘women don’t want to work as long as a man…’ because to me, “…a little more leisure time” implies duration, while “…as hard…” implies amount of effort. Still, it’s a poor argument against Affirmative Action programs.
Think before you speak, Rep. Kern, and when you apologize, don’t do it just because your words “…were not spoken correctly…” and don’t water it down by saying you were taken out of context and misrepresented.
Apologizing and playing the victim – yeah, Sally Kern does not speak for me.
Cross-posted from my blog.