THE ‘CONTEXT’ DOESN’T HELP…. Given that I took Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R) to task yesterday for her brazen racism during a debate on affirmative action, it’s only fair to note that she apologized yesterday. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, Kern still thinks the media is partially responsible for her mess, because the “context” makes her remarks appear less offensive.
“I want to humbly apologize for any statements last night about women and African Americans. My words were, obviously, not spoken correctly and for that I humbly apologize. 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. […]
“We live in a sound bite society and our media likes to take only a portion of a dialog and use just a slice of it. You can take a portion of something someone says and make it say anything you want it to say. Without a doubt, what I said was poorly stated and did not convey the meaning I wanted to get across for this I am truly sorry and humbly apologize.”
Kern went on to say in her written statement, “In a very inadequate and poorly worded way I was meaning to say that government should not give perference [sic] based only upon race or gender. I deeply regret the anquish [sic] and insult I have caused to all Africian [sic] Americans and sincerely apologize and ask for your forgiveness. My husband and I serve in an inner city church ministering to people of every race because we love all people.”
For the record, the larger context just doesn’t help the right-wing lawmaker. Kern not only suggested prisons have high African-American populations because blacks may not “want to study as hard in school,” she also said, “I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
There is no “context” that makes this anything less than ugly racism.
For the record, several of Kern’s colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature, including at least one leader from her own party, condemned her remarks. As of today, however, she remains a Republican lawmaker in good standing.