Says state senators both erred regarding 'coloreds' reference

Staff Writer
Kent Weeklies

I’m writing this to address Sen. Kristina Roegner’s office official statement regarding remarks made by her colleague Sen. Steve Huffman.

As a fellow elected official and a constituent of Roegner’s, I am deeply troubled by her statement. While I have worked with her in the past to draft legislation that supports our school district, I cannot in good conscience support her suggestion of “moving on” from Sen. Huffman’s use of the word “colored” to describe African-Americans.

I find it deeply offensive and insensitive to suggest we “move on” as if there are more important things we should be talking about. While Sen. Hoffman did apologize, his excuse completely missed the mark.

To be clear, “coloreds” and people of color are not one in the same as he suggests. This term “colored” harkens back to a time when oppressive Jim Crow laws prevailed and were designed to block black people from having access to voting, quality education and adequate housing to name a few. The term was painful then, and it is painful now.

There is no excuse, as Sen. Huffman is old enough to know better. His words are even more appalling as he is a medical doctor and should know the research behind the disparities that exist in the healthcare industry that disproportionately impact African-Americans.

As a leader, I also expect better from Sen. Roegner. In light of these troubling times of racial divide in our state and nation, we must recognize the need to acknowledge and call out such ignorance for what it is. These instances are not helpful in our learning, and moving on from them isn’t either. Learning happens by having dialog. I stand ready to engage in this dialog when and if she is ready.

Mark H. Curtis, Twinsburg School Board Member.