Despite what Republican Senator Tim Scott of the “great state” of South Carolina says, we all know that America is undeniably a racist country, a very racist country. The fact that the Republican Party chose it’s only African American Senator out to deliver their rebuttal to President Biden’s address to the nation tells us all we need to know. Scott was playing to the same crowd who refuse to believe that George Floyd was murdered execution style, despite what they saw with their own eyes—never mind what is undeniably true, believe what you want to believe.
These are the same people who insist on believing that the grievances of black and brown people are manufactured by the “liberal elite” to advance their leftist, supposedly socialist, agenda. In other words, more than 150 years after the Civil War and emancipation, they still think like slaveholders who blamed the abolitionists for stirring up the peaceful, contented “darkies.” No, people kept in bondage against their will to work in the cotton fields and sugar mills were not content with their situation, just as a sizeable portion of African Americans aren’t happy with their place in America today.
When Senator Scott says “it’s wrong to use our painful past to try to dishonestly shut down debates in the present,” how can one not want to quote William Faulkner: “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.” And how can people be expected to put the “painful past” behind them when police are still killing Black men almost every day, at such breakneck pace that it feels like we’re in the midst of an epidemic. (And never mind Faulkner, when I think of the “past” I don’t mean last Thursday!) How many of you saw the video footage of a pickup full of deputies on their way to serve an arrest warrant for Andre Brown, Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina? Did they look like a modern-day posse hunting down an escaped slave, or was that just my memories of growing up in the Cotton Kingdom coming back to haunt me? Come on, those so-called deputies were nothing but a bunch of cowboys out to kill a Black dude! Does anyone really believe that ten deputies are required to serve a drug-related search and arrest warrant? As long as we still have lynchings like that going on right in front of our eyes, how can we deny this is a racist country?
America Still Has a Long Way to Go!
Martin Luther King said that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” and let’s hope that’s true, but this country still has a long way to go. How Senator Scott can keep a straight face while he claims that a country that practiced slavery for 250 years, Jim Crow for 100 years after that, and now incarcerates Black men in obscenely disproportionate numbers isn’t racist is beyond comprehension. While so many of us continue to fight for racial and economic equality, Senator Scott and his ilk in the Republican Party continue to pander to those who (want to, need to) think that everything is just fine as it is. If I didn’t think that America still held the promise to overcome its racist past, I wouldn’t keep up the good fight, but right now things are decidedly not as they should be, not even close.