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Tim Scott declaring ‘America is not a racist country’ is key to fighting real racism

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/4/2021 Jack Hunter
Tim Scott wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

When Sen. Tim Scott said that “America is not a racist country” in his Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress last week, the in anger over the black senator’s supposed of racism in the United States.

When Scott on CBS News’s Face the Nation on Sunday that there was a “lingering effect” of a “couple of centuries of racism and discrimination in this nation,” some right-leaning people and outlets characterized this as a “” of what the Republican had said about race prior.

Both camps are wrong.

When Scott declared that America is not racist in his rebuttal, he it with personal examples of harassment by police, including being pulled over seven times in one year by police while serving as a member of Congress. The Senate’s only black Republican also mentioned his family roots that go back to slavery. Clearly, Scott was not denying that racial oppression has permeated American history.

Scott delivered the same message during his television appearance Sunday, but what some in the conservative base was a flip-flop. Here is exactly what Scott said on Sunday, in full context.

“I’ve been saying for a long time: America is not a racist country,” Scott began. He continued, “The question is, is there a lingering effect after a couple of centuries of racism and discrimination in this nation? The answer is absolutely.” The senator then arrived at the most important part, saying, “The question we should be debating and fighting over is how do we resolve those issues going forward.”

How does the country move forward on police reform and other issues related to race? You start by not calling everyone “racist.”

At the heart of critical race theory, which is now being in education by the Biden administration, is the notion that America has always been irretrievably racist and there can be no redemption for our permanent national sin. If you are white, you must bear the burden of your own racism and that of your ancestors, whether you happen to be actually racist or not. It is not your decision. History has decided.

Where can anyone go from that?

This illiberal but increasingly influential view on the Left was denounced by Scott in his rebuttal when he said, “Today, kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor.”

In denouncing critical race theory and insisting that “America is not a racist country,” Scott is rejecting in full the leftist framework through which racial issues are too often discussed. The senator is telling his fellow Republicans and the majority of people who don’t think in such radically hateful ways, including independents and many Democrats, that he is opposed to the lunacy that is so dishonestly being framed as “anti-racism.”

But there are still problems with legitimate racism we must address.

Scott appears to be saying: Most people in the U.S. are good. They are not racist. You’re not racist. Most cops are good and also aren’t racist. I’m not against you. I’m with you. As countrymen.

Instead of wagging his finger at you, Scott is reaching out his hand.

This approach is anathema to the Left, whose entire reason for talking about racial issues is precisely to wag its finger more than to fix problems. As Scott said in his rebuttal on Democrats rejecting his police reform legislation, “They seemed to want the issue more than they wanted a solution.”

For too long, and with justification, white Americans have viewed any discussion of the country’s racial ills as an attack on them, thus preventing progress. Former President Donald Trump opened the door in a big way to conservatives addressing racial disparities when he signed the First Step Act in 2018, the most monumental criminal justice reform act in modern U.S. history.

Scott is trying to take that effort further both as a black man who sees the need for it and as a Republican who understands how to speak to skeptics. And that begins by not denouncing the entire country as racist, something any grown-up would know. Right now, Scott might be the only one in the room.

Jack Hunter () is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Sen. Rand Paul.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Tim Scott, Race and Diversity, Racism, Democratic Party, Media, Police, Criminal Justice Reform

Original Author: Jack Hunter

Original Location: Tim Scott declaring ‘America is not a racist country’ is key to fighting real racism

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