Monday, 16 March 2020

Oklahoma House of Representatives: Healthcare Workers Are Racist

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The Oklahoma House of Representatives is overwhelmingly Republican, but as is the case in so many other states, that does not seem to have stopped the march of success of the Left. Last week, the Oklahoma House voted 62-33 in favor of House Bill 3088, which would encourage medical professionals in the state to undergo “implicit bias” training. Other states that have enacted similar laws include California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

Incredibly, 39 Republicans joined the entire Democratic Party caucus in supporting the legislation. A major tenet of the American Left is that American society is permeated with systemic racism — and the Oklahoma Legislature has passed this bill that essentially agrees with that assessment.

By passing the legislation — which still must pass the Senate and be approved by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt — federal dollars are expected to be made available for the “training” of healthcare workers who specialize in the treatment of pregnant women. The bill is based on the supposition that higher mortality rates among African-American mothers and infants, and among other minority mothers and infants, are due — at least partly — to the racism of healthcare professionals.

The bill states, “Every hospital that provides inpatient maternity services and every birthing center ... may implement an evidence-based implicit bias training program for all health professionals who provide perinatal treatment and care to pregnant women at the hospital or birthing center.”

The wording of the bill clearly asserts that white healthcare workers are biased, at least subconsciously, against women who are not white, in their treatment of black and Hispanic women. The bill provides that the implicit-training program may include “identifying previous and current unconscious biases and misinformation when providing perinatal treatment and care to pregnant women.” The programs will also provide “information on the effects of historical and contemporary exclusion and oppression of minority communities,” as well as “information about communicating more effectively across racial, ethnic, religious, and gender identities.”

In short, using the language often found in left-wing propaganda, it would provide “information about reproductive justice.” Social Justice is the lingo of the Left to advance their agenda.

“The State Department of Health is trying to apply for a grant for federal funds, and so we need to go ahead and put this in statute so that they can receive those funds,” said Representative Ajay Pittman (D), the bill’s main sponsor in the House, in arguing for passage. She noted that the bill is supported by the Oklahoma Department of Health, OU Medicine, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

For those who often wonder why the federal government has grown and grown at the expense of the states, one answer is the 16th Amendment, which allowed Congress to pass an income tax. This has vastly expanded the ability of the federal government to get the states to enact programs beyond those that would be included under the enumerated powers of the federal government found in the U.S. Constitution. As is the case with this and so many other bills, the federal government gets the states to take certain actions, so as to tap into the vast reservoir of federal funds, provided by the federal income tax.

While the bill passed relatively easy, it was not without opposition. Representative Tom Gann (R) challenged the underlying assumptions of the bill. “Behavior, not thought, should be the target of intervention in the workplace.” Gann added, “I think bigotry ought to be rooted out anywhere we find it. And I find the bigoty in this implied bias training. It’s the highest form of bigotry, because implied bias training says — strongly suggests — that you’re biased, you’re a racist. That’s what this training is about. This training is insulting. It basically says: ‘You’re a bigot. You just don’t admit it yet.’”

Representative Denise Crosswhite Hader (R) voiced similar concerns, saying the bill was based on a “thought police” approach. She questioned as to how implicit bias could be measured, as it is “clearly just a mindset.”

“Are you affirming with this bill and its requirements that implicit bias is causing higher infant mortality among African-American babies?” asked Representative Jim Olsen (R), to which Pittman replied, “I think it contributes.”

Gann noted, “The vast majority of people labeled ‘racist’ by these tests behave the same as the vast majority of people not racist. This is Orwellian pablum.”

As Gann said, it amounts to a “re-education camp,” where participants are asked to react to images and words and whether they associate positive or negative traits with the image or phrase. Gann called it “silly,” which it certainly is.

But it more than silly. It is dangerous to label healthcare workers as racist bigots. It is probable that such accusations will become the basis of lawsuits against individuals who simply entered the healthcare field to help people, regardless of ethnic background. It also gives more clout to the argument that healthcare needs to be taken over by the federal government.

Photo: DustyPixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Steve Byas is a university instructor of history and government and is the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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