Politics Democrats are backtracking over claims US is a racist country
How not to talk about American racism: Tim Scott lures Democrats into a trap
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were forced to run the media's "racist country" gauntlet. Don't answer dumb questions! Kamala Harris and Tim Scott Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
One line in Sen. Tim Scott’s response to President Joe Biden’s address was so effective that top Democrats have begun to use it, with some qualifications, themselves.
“Hear me clearly,” the South Carolina Republican said last week. “America is not a racist country. It's backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
Since then, several prominent Democratic leaders have echoed that America isn’t a racist country, starting at the very top.
“I don’t think America is racist,” Biden told NBC’s Today show in an interview that aired Friday morning. “But I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow — and before that, slavery — have had a cost.”
Tim Scott declaring ‘America is not a racist country’ is key to fighting real racism
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 Left exploded in anger over the black senator’s supposed denial of racism in the United States. © Provided by Washington Examiner 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.
“First of all, no, I don’t think America is a racist country, but we also do have to speak the truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today,” said Vice President Kamala Harris in an interview with ABC. Harris is the first black person, Asian, and woman to hold the vice presidency.
“We should stop arguing about whether or not this is a racist country,” Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the House, told CNN. “It is not.”
Clyburn is a South Carolinian like Scott and one of the most powerful black Democrats in Congress. His endorsement of Biden proved pivotal in last year’s primaries.
“A racist country would never elect Barack Obama president or Kamala Harris vice president," Clyburn added.
Democrats have committed themselves to rooting out what they describe as systemic racism in law enforcement, housing, healthcare, wealth distribution, and a host of other areas. But they are also trying to find their footing in how to discuss these issues without seeming to call vast swathes of voters racist.
The new scarlet letter: R for racist
Did you know a drawing of an evergreen tree could be considered racist? © (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) Like false accusations of sexual assault, few and far between though they may be, false accusations of racism harm the real victims. That’s what concerned a Portland, Oregon, school board when debating a new school mascot. An objection was raised over the possibility of using a tree, lest it be seen as a reminder of lynching. If you’ve spent any time on social media or following politics for the last several years, you’ve heard similar racial hyperbole: This image is racist.
“Today, kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again. And if you look a certain way, they're an oppressor,” Scott, the black Republican tapped to respond to Biden, said. “From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven't made any progress at all.”
Some commentators pushed back. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump that it “was nevertheless the case that Scott’s rhetoric was focused on a straw man.” But even relatively liberal Democrats clearly see the political potency of Scott’s remarks.
“Wokeness is a problem,” longtime Democratic strategist James Carville the liberal website Vox, “and we all know it.” He added that Biden’s “biggest attribute is that he’s not into ‘faculty lounge’ politics.”
Biden has positioned himself all over the map on racial issues over the course of his long political career, for the civil rights movement at some times and criticizing forced busing and “” at others.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are right: America is not a racist country
When GOP Sen. Tim Scott declared that “America is not a racist country,” liberals blew a gasket. They were so determined to prove him wrong that they launched the ugliest sort of racist attacks against him as a person, putting their paradoxically toxic and racist "anti-racism" on full display.They must have felt a bit betrayed when, within the next 48 hours, both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said exactly the same thing.
During last year’s campaign, Biden tried to avoid the excesses of the Online Left when talking about the police and other hot-button topics. At the same time, he leaned heavily into racial justice issues and saw his numbers rise when protests erupted over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody. The officer in question, Derek Chauvin, was later convicted of murdering Floyd.
The balance mostly worked as Biden beat former President Donald Trump by 85 points among voters whose top issue was racial inequality, according to the exit polls. But the political pressure of catering to mostly white, woke liberals took a toll even when Biden mostly resisted it. Democrats lost seats in the House and barely took the Senate and presidency in part because nonwhite conservative voters gravitated toward the Republicans over “defund the police” and similar causes.
The GOP tried a delicate maneuver itself: talking up the passage of criminal justice reform under Trump and Scott’s police reform bill that Senate Democrats blocked while also hammering Democrats on “law and order.” The latter approach contributed to the end of Democratic dominance in the 1960s and ‘70s, with Republicans winning three straight presidential elections in the 1980s and then control of Congress in the 1990s. Trump won voters concerned mostly by crime and public safety by more than 40 points.
Avoiding White Backlash Is a Racial-Justice Issue
Democrats can’t make major legislative progress on racial equality without winning more Senate seats. To do that, they must win more white votes.Historically, Republicans have taken pains to emphasize this fact, while Democrats have attempted to downplay it. The logic of these tactics was straightforward: The U.S. electorate is both overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly non-rich.
Democrats don’t want to revert back to the days when Republicans can use these as effective wedge issues during election years but at the same time wish to deliver for their diverse electoral coalition — and believe they can square the circle.
“The best message for Democrats: America is not a racist nation, but there are white supremacists who are trying to undermine the progress we've made in racial justice with violent attacks on African and Asian Americans and attempts to stop them from voting,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “The Democratic Party stands for a just, multiracial society that stands for the principle that all people are created equal.”
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Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias .
So much for the tolerant left, where diversity is celebrated, except in situations where class acts such as Scott don't carry the same ideology or worldview. And as we've seen increasingly on America's college campuses, the most important diversity of all - diversity of thought - is dismissed in the most pious manner imaginable. So given that Twitter is keenly aware of what the most popular topics are on its platform, one would think "#UncleTim" wouldn't trend for too long. But one hour became another. Then another. Then five hours. Then 10 hours.