State Watch

Oklahoma state GOP lawmaker compares Black Lives Matter to KKK on House floor

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An Oklahoma state Republican representative on Thursday garnered outrage from fellow lawmakers for comparing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). 

The comment occurred during discussions regarding an Oklahoma House bill that would ban “critical race theory” at state college and universities as well as other designated topics on sex and race.

Rep. Justin Humphrey (R) said the KKK, the centuries-old white supremacist group, was “terrible.” 

“Everybody agrees on this floor that they have burned, that they have threatened, that they have destroyed, that’s what they’re famous for,” he added. 

Humphrey then asked the education bill’s co-author, GOP state Rep. Kevin West if he would “agree that when people burn, threaten, kill, intimidate, that they are a terrorist group, and that Black Lives Matter meet that same description?”

The comment was met with audible gasps from some other lawmakers, before West responded, “I would agree.” 

Democratic state Rep. Emily Virgin then asked that lawmakers avoid using profane, obscene or indecent language on the House floor, prompting Humphrey to apologize for his word choice. 

Local ABC affiliate KOCO-TV reported that a small group of protesters then went to Humphrey’s office following the comments. 

When reached for comment, Humphrey told The Hill that while he supports “every Black movement that” participates in “peaceful protests,” he doubled down on his argument that “BLM is a terrorist group.” 

“There is no country that does more for civil rights than America,” he added, though he noted that “there has been injustice done to the Black community.” 

Humphrey in his explanation for why he supported the education bill cited the famous quote from the late civil rights icon and leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said he had a “dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

“I think that’s what we’ve lost,” he told The Hill. “We’re teaching race, we’re teaching hatred toward race.” 

The House bill, first proposed in February, in part prohibits state colleges and universities from requiring sexual diversity training or counseling, and also bans school employees from teaching specified topics on race and sex, including that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” and that an individual “by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.” 

The bill, which passed 69-19 on Thursday, was already passed by the Oklahoma Senate, and now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) desk for approval.

Tags ABC Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter Critical race theory KKK Martin Luther King , Jr. Oklahoma racial justice state House
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