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Legislators, Others Condemn Kern Comments (Apr 28, 2011)

A state Representative known for her outspoken opposition to homosexuals is now being criticized for comments she made about women and minorities during debate on a bill Thursday night.

State Rep. Sally Kern (R–Oklahoma City) was debating legislation that will put the practice of affirmative action by state government before Oklahoma voters.

She apologized Thursday after questioning whether there were disproportionately high numbers of blacks in prison because “they didn't want to work hard in school.” Kern also said women don't work as hard as men because they “tend to think a little bit more about their families.”

Kern’s apology also said the way her words came out was not true to her spirit, but Anthony Douglas, the president of the Oklahoma National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, believes Kern “spoke her heart.”

He told reporters that Kern should resign her office for the racist statements. Douglas also said the NAACP is looking at ways to block the anti-affirmative action proposal from ever showing up on the ballot.

Kern’s remarks are also drawing criticism from her legislative colleagues.

Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice (D–Oklahoma City) is calling for Republican leaders to reprimand Kern for her comments. In an e-mailed statement this afternoon, Rice said he strongly condemns the reprehensible racist and sexist comments.

“Surely the Republican leaders of the legislature and Gov. Fallin will join my caucus in stating publicly that such bigotry and ignorance has no place in our political system,” Rice said. “Rep. Kern has shown a pattern of expressing demagoguery, and I know of no instance where a fellow Republican has ever condemned her.”

But House Speaker Kris Steele says Kern has recognized her error and he accepts her apology.

The chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, Sen. Constance Johnson (D–Oklahoma City), said, “For someone this day and age to say something so offensive and backward is just unbelievable.”


Rep. Sally Kern’s Apology:

“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.”


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