During the March 1st, 2023 meeting of the Ohio House of Representatives, Republican Representative Jay Edwards of Nelsonville (representing the 94th District) made a shockingly disgraceful statement.
While making his remarks over the House Transportation Bill, Representative Edwards said, “We’ve slaved over this for a long time.”
This was just mere minutes after Representative Upchurch of Cleveland stood to recognize the football players of Glenville High School and their coach. Upchurch praised the team and coach for being an inspiration to the young black youth in the local area. All members of the High School football team were present and proudly wearing their uniforms. They received multiple rounds of applause from the House members and guests.
With our wiz-bang editing software, the word racism has synonyms that include “narrow mindedness”. There are 2 major categories that this type of racist comment could fall under.
The term systemic racism refers to a pattern of discrimination ingrained in a society or institution and not caused by individual acts. The term refers to a range of practices, policies, and cultural norms that can lead to unequal outcomes for people of different races, particularly marginalized groups. It can be difficult to identify and challenge these patterns because they often reflect deep-seated biases and power imbalances that have developed over time.
Micro racism refers to subtle, often unconscious behaviors that discriminate against others based on their race. There are many ways to do this, including making assumptions or stereotypes about someone based on their race, utilizing racially coded language, or making insensitive jokes or remarks. Micro racist behavior may not appear immediately obvious and can easily be overlooked or dismissed, unlike overt acts of racism. However, they can still have a negative impact on individuals and contribute to broader patterns of inequality and discrimination.
Do you think his comment was a blatant example of Systemic Racism or Micro Racism?
SCDN contacted the office of Ohio Representative Jay Edwards and asked these questions.
- Do you think your reference to “slaving” over the details of a bill was an appropriate term to use?
- Do you think your use of this term, especially in front of young black high school students, was highly inappropriate?
- Does this prove the talking point of systemic racism that runs so deep, the upper class white man has no idea he’s making a racist comment?
Some would argue that this could be a simple case of being “tone deaf”. Afterall, he’s a product of Southeastern Ohio. They may use the “good ole boy from Appalachia” trope. But, shouldn’t those we elect to represent us demonstrate more poise and maturity? Aren’t they supposed to elevate us instead of perpetuating the stereotypes many people believe about our part of the state? Should we expect better? Do we deserve better?
At the time of this publication, Representative Edwards has not officially responded. If you would also like to know the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind, you can contact Ohio Representative Jay Edwards here. In addition, if you would like to share your thoughts with Representative Upchurch, you may click here.