Do you feel like either side should apologize? | Minnesota Public Radio News

Do you feel like either side should apologize?

The top Minnesota House Democrat is standing by a remark she made during a debate Monday as Republicans demand an apology.House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman said she hated “to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room,” as she urged colleagues to listen to speeches from women of color on the House floor.

    to those who were the focus of Rep. Hortman's comments and complained I say this, "When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression"
    For them to be absent from the speeches because it shows their priorities and who they want to include in the conversation. Her reaction may not have been the "correct" option according to the rules, but sometimes you have to make some minor trouble to effect change.
    — Mary Olliff via PIN
    I'm tired of the "disrespected white men" refrain. They are ignoring people of color so they deserve to be called out for it.
    — John Clouse via PIN
    Hortman's colleagues should apologize. The disrespect of people with a great amount of privilege, given the topic of this debate, to simply not listen, brings the need for the right to protest into sharp relief. If elected officials literally close their ears to the opinions of other elected officials when they are from disadvantaged groups, how can anyone from those groups get heard? By protesting, even if that means jail, if this bill is signed.
    — Renee Spillum via PIN
    As a woman of Hispanic descent, I say it is more disrespectful for Rep. Hortman to bring up race and gender.  Respect and equality needs to be applied across the board -- not just demanding one group shows it to all other groups, and yet accept it when that group is slammed by others.  Let's stop the hypocrisy NOW.
    — Deb Shields via PIN
    Rep. Hortman is right on.  The truth hurts - power in MN rests in the hands of white males, not only at the legislature, but throughout the state.
    — Peter Eichten via PIN
    I completely agree with Hortman's sentiment, but I disagree with her words. It would have been more effective to ask colleagues to look around and to observe who was in the room and who was not, and to ask for support to bring colleagues in to be sure they heard all perspectives. I must admit, however, that her sentiment would not have gotten the attention its getting had she done that.

    — fran sepler via PIN
    Not much detail has been provided in the reports as to whether it is customary and acceptable not be present during speeches, so it is difficult to comment. I have observed a lot of empty seats during speeches. What I find troublesome is the application of a double standard. What if another speaker called out a minority group in a similar fashion? But, frankly white males seem to be the newly acceptable punching bags. And when it is challenged, the thinking seems to be, "Yeah, well they deserve it." I find this alarming and troubling.
    — Bruce Schultz via PIN
    Clearly much more disrespectful for House members to be playing cards in the back room rather than listen to fellow members and women of color speak from the heart.
    — Beth-Ann Bloom via PIN
    Legislators have a responsibility to be present when the legislation is in session. And in Minnesota, a vast majority of those folks are white, male, and privileged. Playing politics with every nuance of words only shows that these men thought that cards was more important than their duty as state representatives.
    — John Reay via PIN

    Before dissecting the minor parts of the comment, focus on the intention and ask if her point if valid: people were ignoring a debate/presentation in the Minnesota State Capitol House of Representatives, not in a bar. Second, this happens more and more often. Deal with her intention, not sideshows. As a citizen, skipping any debate/discussion is not appropriate behavior for elected officials. Who was playing cards Representative Hortman? Well done no matter how you say it.
    What I want to know is the names of the people who thought it was ok to play cards during working hours. I take OFFENSE to Rep Greg Davids statement! " Davids said. "Now, what happens in the retiring room is nobody's business." It most certainly is our business as we hired these representatives.
    Are you kidding me? Why in 2017 are we still apologizing for pointing out white male privilege, and decision-making that excludes POC and women?
    Rep. Hortman was very disrespectful to the House of Representatives.  There is a much more professional way to address her personal displeasure of Retiring Room use during a debate.  What is ironic is that she is complaining about debate disruption when she believes it is right for others to disrupt traffic and safty for "free speech/ protest" rights.  What a hypocrite... Oh but wait, she's a democrat.  That's typical behavior for people like her.
    — Jon Visser via PIN
    Hortman.  Stop the grand standing and get to work.
    — Jim Nickman via PIN
    I think it was EXTREMELY disrespectful for the white men not to listen to the speeches by women of color!  To blame someone for calling this out is simply to blame someone for calling out the REALITY of US History -- for centuries ONLY WHITE MEN MADE THE SPEECHES -- MADE THE RULES!  This is the TRUTH of our history and it NEEDS TO BE CALLED OUT AND CHANGED!
    — Michelle Hensley via PIN
    I believe that the disrespect was by the GOP who were making the statement that "information from minorities and women are not worth taking time out of their break time to listen to. These "isolationists" need to be open to other opinions and not just to their own.
    — Jim Kellner via PIN
    Rep Hortman was disrespectful. Members wander in and out of session since much of the speechifying on both sides isn't going to change the outcome of a vote. What about members who were at their seats goofing around on the internet or playing games or fooling with their phones? They aren't listening either. Simply asking to have the absent members brought in would have sufficed. Adding a snarky stereotypical anti-white male bias comment to her request was churlish. TERM LIMITS are what is needed at the Capital.
    — Jean Mattila via PIN
    Rep. Hortman called it as she saw it, and the white males did their usual PLM response: "Poor Little Me syndrome" reaction. This culture has ALWAYS held being a white male to be a superior position. It's the MEN who displayed a demeaning attitude toward  their estrogen counterparts. And bravo to any men who showed courtesy to the women by staying and listening, no matter their political persuasion.
    — Julie B. Weaver via PIN
    It was more disrespectful for her colleagues to not be present during the mentioned speeches. Leaving the floor to go to the washroom, grab a refreshment, or just take a brief break to attend to some other business, perhaps a personal need requiring attention is one thing. To sit and play cards, obviously not paying any attention to the presenters, is outrageous. It is even more outrageous if there is a pattern of doing it specifically when women and other minority groups in the chamber are speaking. The representatives  are there to conduct the people's business. The issue of whether to make protesters pay for safety is an essential question in our democracy. To charge for it is to virtually ban freedom of speech, because only the wealthy will have it.  I am very disheartened to learn that this type of behavior is going on.
    — Glenna Case via PIN
    The reference to race and gender was disrespectful. The fact that colleagues were not present on the floor to hear the speech is not even unusual, since most of the time, speakers are talking for their constituents back home and don't have any serious expectation of influencing other members during floor debate. The other members act accordingly.
    — Robert A. Benzinger via PIN
    Rep. Hortman was correct in pointing out the disrespectful behavior of her peers. Playing cards in another room is not what we pay our representatives to do. However, she could have gotten more people to pay attention by wording her admonishment appropriately. Pointing out their race and gender only made her comment controversial and did little to put the spotlight on their irresponsible and discourteous behavior. Plus, I'm not sure what race and/or gender had to do with the behavior. Yes, the speakers at the moment were minority women, but they shouldn't be heard because they are minority women. They should be heard because they have something valuable to add to the conversation.
    — Jo Haugen via PIN
    I think it's very disrespectful to not be present during the speeches.  People with privilege very rarely see their own privilege or how their behavior subtly maintains that privileged status for themselves.  Perhaps Rep. Hortman could have used a different tactic to push the men into appropriate action but I do not think on the face of it calling out a gender is negative.  I feel fairly certain it's been done to highlight women in different contexts and not acknowledged for the double standard.
    — Sonja Benson via PIN
    Colleagues should be present for the speeches. This is not like CSPAN, where speeches occur when the House is not in session. And, white men should be more sensitive to how it appears when they are hanging out together playing cards while their colleagues are trying to influence the debate. The bill being debated is import to Minnesotans' sense of democracy and the right of free speech. I would expect my legislator to be in his/her seat listening carefully to the debate, no matter how long the debate had been going on. Proud to say that my legislator is not a white man - and was listening to the debate.
    — Katheren Koehn via PIN
    She was totally correct to raise the issue.  Justice is never supposed to be "nice", but to speak courageously to power.  Those who have been ignored and disrespected for so long must have a voice!
    — Edwin Martin via PIN
    I have spoken to a city council meeting before, NO ONE listens. It's disrespectful to not listen . . . is it better to be out of the room so the speaker doesn't know? Maybe, but either way, it is indicative of the level of disrespect we have as a country, and as a House! Maybe they need to get locked in a room together and have their phones and cards taken away so they HAVE to listen to each other. Maybe take a class on basic respect for your fellow human beings?!?
    — Jodi Barry via PIN
    Rep. Hortman was not being disrespectful. She was exercising her privilege as a white woman in a position of power to call out oppressive behavior. Her colleagues, on the other hand, chose to exercise their privilege as white men in positions of power by disrespecting the people of color trying to be heard. Their behavior is absolutely more disrespectful.
    — Johanna Kertesz via PIN
    Because we are living amidst systems of sexism and racism, it is important to name their concrete manifestations. The fact that white and male folks have a practice of not listening to women of color in the legislature is one of those manifestations. Explicitly naming things is one way to help transform those systems of racism and sexism.
    — Rebecca Voelkel via PIN
    It is more disrespectful for House members not to be present during the mentioned speeches. For Greg Davids to claim that Hortman's comment made the House a "hostile workplace" is particularly hypocritical, given the measure under discussion at the time - which would increase the penalties for "disruptive protesting". Who protests? Those disproportionately subject to hostility in the workplace and in society at large. People whose voices are disrespected - not coincidentally, precisely those people who the House members ignored, in favor of their card games. 
          And that's not even addressing the fact that in no other job can an employee sit around playing cards and get paid for it.
    — Shelby Flint via PIN
    She was blunt but not disrespectful, and her comments were an appropriate response to their behavior. I'm shocked that it's a "new thing" for members to gab, play cards, or other wise check out in another "retiring room" during debates or other important sessions. As my representatives, I expect them to be fully engaged at all times -- no excuse.  Walking out isn't good either.  Bottom line, unless they have pressing business elsewhere, then they should be engaged. Even their motivation wasn't race or gender bias, by behaving disrespectfully they gave that very perception which is just as harmful and worthy of rebuke.  Given the nature of what those women were speaking about and the perspectives they brought, everyone should have been 100% engaged.
    — Mark Donohue via PIN
    In an age when the president can openly lie to the American population with impunity, when Democrats and Republicans work against each other; not for public good, but for their own agenda, I"m not sure respect is something that matters to anyone other than the person who feels disrespected. 
          I believe Rep. Hortman has a valid point, and being a woman myself, get the frustration with the ol' boys club. I wouldn't call it disrespect. I'd call it getting their attention. As far as the Republicans feeling disrespected, well, if you aren't all in to listen to speeches by colleagues when they are female or persons of color, I don't think claiming disrespect when you're called out on the discrepancy is respect-worthy. 
          Maybe the Republicans should apologize to the women and minorities they dissed. Seriously, politicians need to get over themselves and work for the good of the people, not their egos. I'm fed up with our elected officials.
    — Mary Nelson via PIN
    Which is a greater hypocrisy - the MN republicans lambasting a colleague for being disrespectful (when what she said was true) or their unfailing support for a president who is epitomizes disrespectful commentary? Republicans have no moral standing when speaking about disrespecting fellow politicians (their shameful treatment of President Obama, candidate Clinton, and their support of the most disrespectful president in my lifetime are examples of why they can claim no moral high ground).
    — Ralph Gutierrez via PIN
    This statement, and the tone in which it was delivered, gave me pause.

    "Now, what happens in the retiring room is nobody's business."

    Listen to Davids when he is speaking, and tell me that there isn't a haughtiness of entitlement and disregard for the common citizen in his words.

    Nobody's business? You're working on MY dime, Mr. Davids, and in the house that MY DIME pays for. What goes on is EVERYBODY'S business.
    It was disrespectful for her colleagues to skip the testimony and she was right to call them out on it. The push back isn't about calling people out for disrespect. The push back is about describing the gender and race of the people she's calling out. That's absurd. People of color and women get identified by their race and gender all the time. Identifying that it was white men who were skipping the testimony is only offensive to people who have the privilege of being the majority in power.
    — Krista Eichhorst via PIN
    The men displayed their up till now permitted pattern of ignoring nonwhite women and most women voices.  History texts indoctrinate white men early into believing the white colonial male narrative is the most important. Many reflexively choose a card game and male bonding if they are not called out. They were skipping class and petulant about being called out.They have most the power as our eyes and ears plainly show us. Calling out is the new norm as female non white voices rise and join. The Fox carnage is a case in point. Men need to run the show equally with women. Men and women make great partners as many couples can attest to. It's ok to be a snowflake. It hurts to be called out. now I hope they can all go back to work. The US is a hot mess.
    — karen morrill via PIN
    What Rep. Hortman did is called "speaking truth to power.". Democracy requires it in large doses.
    — Ken Graeve via PIN
    It was far more disrespectful of the colleagues to not be present to in the chamber and if what Rep Hortman said is true then she was totally valid in pointing that out.
    — kristen stuenkel via PIN
    Rep Hortman was speaking her truth. Congratulations to her
    — janet kinney via PIN
    Both were wrong, but I do think it is more disrespectful for legislators to be playing cards instead of doing their job.
    — Tim Smith via PIN
    It is disrespectful for ANY members of the House or Senate to be playing cards in the back room during debates. Every member deserves to be heard, even if opponents have made their minds up. We expect our elected representatives to show up for work.
    — Julia Wallace via PIN
    It was clearly much more disrespectful for members of the most privileged class in the US, white men, to dismiss the thoughts and ideas of Rep. Hortman's colleagues than it was for the Representative to point out their disrespect while emphasizing their membership in a group that OWES minority and female legislators their full attention, given how they've marginalized such people in the past.
    — paul Magee via PIN
    Is it too much to ask for these guys to sit in the chamber and do their damned jobs?
    Davids and others...there were no rules broken here. when you respect all Americans, you sit in the room and listen to every voice around the debate. when you don't like the debate, you sure as hell don't go the retiring room and play cards. you might actually LEARN something if you take the time to listen. when will privileged white men come to learn that coming to work means listening to floor debates?
    On this day of Women's Equal Pay day and women's equality in the work and political world, I find it distasteful and disappointing not to mention disrespectful for these men to be playing cards during a debate about taking away the right to protest. And to top it off, these same men attacked Rep. Hortman for calling them out for their behavior and have the nerve to demand that she step down. I can barely contain my disdain for them. Women and minority women need to have more seats in our legislature so these kinds of things don't happen. You can bet that women like me are watching this in disbelief and will be active in the next election to make sure we elect people of integrity who take the issues of women and minorities seriously.
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