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Archive for Monday, February 14, 2011

Statehouse Live: Democrats criticize Republican legislator over ‘complexion’ remark

February 14, 2011, 1:54 p.m. Updated February 14, 2011, 6:15 p.m.

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State Rep. Connie O'Brien testifies in support of a bill to repeal in-state tuition

State Rep. Connie O'Brien, R-Tonganoxie, testifying last week to a legislative committee in support of a bill to repeal in-state tuition for certain undocumented students.

— The Kansas Democratic Party on Monday demanded a Republican legislator apologize for saying she could tell a woman wasn’t from the United States because of her “olive complexion.”

“This kind of blatant racism is unacceptable,” said Kenny Johnston, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

Rep. Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie, said the Democrats had mischaracterized what she had said. She said she would have a statement about the issue in the next day or so.

The dispute was over testimony O’Brien gave last week to a House committee in support of a bill that would repeal in-state tuition for certain undocumented students.

O’Brien told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee about a time last year when she accompanied her son to enroll at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

A woman near them in line was requesting her scholarship money, but when the clerk asked for her photo identification, the woman said she had none, O’Brien said.

The woman then asked for someone else to help her, O’Brien said. O’Brien told the committee that the woman was going to get financial assistance, and her son, who was born and raised in Kansas, wasn’t.

“We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was. We didn’t think that was proper but we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country,” O’Brien said.

Rep. Sean Gatewood, D-Topeka, asked O’Brien how she could tell, and O’Brien replied, “She wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion.” O’Brien said she had a son-in-law from Afghanistan, who had olive complexion, so the woman could have been from Afghanistan.

Another committee member, Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, told O’Brien during the committee hearing that the woman O’Brien had been speaking about, if she was an undocumented student, could not have received any federal or state scholarship funds.

Johnston, with the Kansas Democratic Party, said O’Brien should apologize to the state’s minority student population for her “extremely inappropriate comments.” He added, “Apparently in Rep. O’Brien’s world, all students with ‘olive complexion’ should be banned from receiving financial aid.”

O’Brien said the Democrats were making a big deal out of nothing “like they did with Bill Otto.” Otto, a Republican state legislator from LeRoy, was criticized for making a video in 2009 in which he criticized President Obama in a “RedNeck Rap,” while wearing a hat that said “OPOSSUM the other Dark Meat.” Otto said he didn’t mean for his video to have any racial overtones.

The proposal to repeal the 2004 law that allows in-state tuition for undocumented students was approved by the committee and will be debated by the full House this week.

Comments

anen87 3 years, 2 months ago

She meant to say Brown Skin, the term "Brown skin" is associated to non-european people. "Olive Skin" is associated with Europeans with darker complexion like for example Victoria Beckham (english) and Irina Shayk (russian) have Olive skin. And looking at Connie O’Brien (irish) I would definitely describe her skin tone as Olive skin.

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DWilly 3 years, 2 months ago

Why is it taking a more than a day to come up with a statement? It's not that hard to say, "I'm a little prejudice. Obviously being non-white, non-black, non-asian and forgetting your wallet does not make you an illegal resident. I need to change how I think about people who do not look like me."

I came up with that in less than five minutes while watching Sportscenter.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

Robert Byrd, former KKK recruiter and segregationist used the phrase "white (n-word)" several years ago, and noone seemed to upset about that on the left.

I'm ready for the "but, but, but that's different" style answers. Bring 'em on and thanks in advance.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

"He did it, too "is not a valid defense.

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sr80 3 years, 2 months ago

go read about the zulu nation with shaka if you want atrocities,the white man didn't appear for some time,so you can't blame them!! isn't that too bad white man can't be scapegoat???

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Bob Forer 3 years, 2 months ago

Isn't anyone troubled by a legislator giving sworn testimony to the legislature. Under the separation of powers doctrine, the legislature is supposed to make laws, not make up facts.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Some of us do know,and are sorry. Now of course I may be attacked and accused of having "liberal white guilt." Well, yeah. Europe and America have commited atrocities all over the world for many centuries. Perhaps if we'd stop committing atrocities and meddling in the affairs of other countries, they would be less inclined to hate us.

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Mike Ford 3 years, 2 months ago

I laugh when you leave yourself open to ridicule due to your lack of cultural history. Hawaii was stolen in an American overthrowing of the Hawaiian monarchy in the late 1890's US sugar barons, profiteers, pineapple companies, and the Morman Church came rushing in to destroy the indigenous Polynesian culture. Indigenous Polynesians were forced off lands, their sacred sites and cemeteries were desecrated, it sounds a lot like what the greedy people did here. I remember a Hawaiian player for the K-State Cotton Bowl team talking about how his people were put in projects out of the sight of superficial tourists like Tom Shewmon back in Hawaii. There was a Hawaiian Federal Recognition bill until the Dumblicans tabled it last year. You know if you all weren't such capitalistic land grabbers always in denial of your greedyness, you would have to face the history of theft you so embrace. I guess the bliss of ignorance serves one well. Aloha Haole.

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Mike Ford 3 years, 2 months ago

I am European and American Indian. In the South, my complexion would be known as dusky. These poor rural hand shaking patriotic types aren't used to having to watch what they say because no one in their small towns watch what they say. They're amongst narrow minded like minded people. Tom lives in the Bonner Springs Linwood area...since the Delawares were removed and towns like Journeycake became Linwood...they can get away with crazy sounding talk amongst themselves because they live in a fishbowl. FOX Network reinforces their fishbowl mentality....welcome to the real world narrowminds...

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

The journalistic far-left creme de la creme was the loons at NBC accusing O'Reilly of being a bigoted racist for talking sports with President Obama. That is too rich for this delicate system. The far-left is stark raving mad----making the W days of the hysterically unhinged far-left seem like campfire girls having a sing-along and making smores around the campfire.

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thatonedude 3 years, 2 months ago

I knew he was going to be able to get a little edgier once he moved to TBS, but thi-

Huh? Wh... Wait, what?

OHHHHHH. Connie O'Brien. CONNIE. Got it.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

Is this the same Rep. who told her constituents that the legislature raised the per student aid to schools last year? Dumb or racist? It's hard to tell. This is why laws like Arizona's worry me. I have dark skin and have been mistaken as Mexican. If I was ever forced to carry around my birth certificate, I wouldn't stick that certificate in the first person's face who demanded me to show it. Need I say where I would stick it?

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situveux1 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm so sick of this kind of "gotcha" politics.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Was the comment specific to which color olive? Green or Black. Pitted? Pimento added? I need more info. Never Mind.

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Ray Parker 3 years, 2 months ago

Keep illegal aliens out of our colleges and public schools.

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Matt Needham 3 years, 2 months ago

What ethnic background gives an orange complexion? None among human beings. Obviously some of our leaders are carrot based infiltrators!

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 2 months ago

I would think Dems would praise her remark; Dems love the business of sorting and segregating by one's color of skin.

May God Bless.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 2 months ago

Hmmmmmmmmmm...........perhaps, the Representative has been reading Cal Thomas' columns?

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Gary Denning 3 years, 2 months ago

Olive skin? Will we never get our borders closed to the Italians and Greeks?

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sr80 3 years, 2 months ago

i am a white american male.i wonder if i got a tan and grew my beard out if i could go to yemen,change my place of birth like al-awlaki "the american terrorist" and come back to the US for a free education, courtesy of the american taxpayer???

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sr80 3 years, 2 months ago

i am a white american male.i wonder if i got a tan and grew my beard out if i could go to yemen,change my place of birth like al-awlaki "the american terrorist" and come back to the US for a free education, courtesy of the american taxpayer???

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Majestic42 3 years, 2 months ago

Inappropriate comment, inappropriate lack of comment from O'Brien.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 2 months ago

You know, I can tell by looking at Connie O'Brien that she is not originally from this country either.

It is her pale white skin that gives her away.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Financial aid is based on income, so if the parents make too much money, the kid doesn't qualify for financial aid. Things like academic or athletic excellence qualify kids for scholarships.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

I know Connie O'brien personally and I know there is not a racist bone in her body. She works tirelessly to help those of all nationalities and especially in protecting us against the encroachment of our government upon our liberties. Notice that the article did not interview O'brien or ask her to clarify the record? This is just another liberal media hit piece trying to give the perception of something that is not true, it is really sad, where is journalism why don't you visit with Connie before you print these accusations? Seems like the media never wants to be fair to a conservative...

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PalinPalms 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't really think you can blame O'Brien... I mean she was probably just drunk

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

A few possibilities for "olive colored" skin for Americans:

Italian Americans Hispanic Americans Greek Americans

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Steve Bunch 3 years, 2 months ago

If you've been away for a while, welcome back to the moronocracy.

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