we were served up an ironic speech by a party puppet, one who talked about suffering racial indignities, but who nonetheless refused to label that treatment the true, but politically unsavory term, ”racism”.

Lone Black Senator Insists Country Not Racist – It Must Be True

Tim Scott, a Republican senator from South Carolina, delivers the rebuttal to Joe Biden’s speech. Photograph: AP

Does anyone besides me find ironic the speech of Republican Senator Tim Scott, the only black Senator of 100, in his rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday night, in which he emphatically stated that America is not racist? Amazingly, he said this after listing several ways he has been discriminated against (which is the very definition of ”racism”).

Undeterred by the contradiction in his claim, and not content to stop there, he asserted that now some white children are suffering oppression for the color of their skin. And…wait for it…He said these things not on SNL, but on the national networks. It would have made a great parody skit. But Senator Scott spoke as if he was serious; as if he’d convinced himself it was true.

This would be laughable if it wasn’t so bizarrely, shamefully, unequivocally absurd; along with being patently false. The fact that the Republicans paraded out the lone black Senator to make the anti-racism case smacks of tokenism, propagandism, and cynicism that reaches a new low, even for the Nazi-Sympathizing, White-Supremacist-Hugging Insurrectionist Party.

If there were zero black Senators, instead of only 1, would that be evidence of systemic racism? 

If neither of those statistical anomalies are evidence, then where do we look for something empirical and demonstrable?

Incarceration rates?

Income levels?

Percentage of college degrees?

I think the GOP has taken all those off the table too. 

I’m curious to know how this denial helps a political party? Of course, it seems shockingly obvious that the GOP panders to white bigots. That demographic is the Trump base. (Republican Tim Scott, the literal one-percenter), notwithstanding. 

But why? What does this gain for them? Do they really think there are that many racist white voters to keep them in power? I know they are going for voter suppression, but you can’t suppress all the votes.

Conversations In Vain

I have tried (in vain) to have conversations with people about what it must be like to be born into this country as a member of a traditionally non-privileged (read oppressed) race. I can’t speak directly to that experience. I’ve never faced a system with a history of holding me down, or holding me back, or holding me in contempt or derision. And my efforts have proved vain because many people either lack the capacity or the willingness to use their imaginations and put themselves into someone else’s world. They seem to fear admitting the reality of institutional, systemic racism as an admission of personal guilt for being born white. Which is simply not the case.

I wasn’t born into a race whose ancestors were enslaved (at least not in this country), or whose ancestors had tribal lands stolen from them for trinkets like beads, tobacco, and alcohol. I’ve never had a great-grandparent tell me about a cross being burned in his yard. No grandparent has ever told me they were denied the opportunity to vote.

But I can imagine these things happening. I can empathize with it. I can believe it when someone from a different race with a different experience tells me what has befallen them. And I certainly find it ironic when someone from that race against which all these atrocities have been systematically committed, denies that reality, for some hoped for political benefit.

A Statesman, or a Puppet? The First Step Is Admitting The Problem

That’s not true. I don’t find it ironic. I find it shameful. It is a denial of humanity. I’d respect Tim Scott if he had embraced his humanity and used his political platform to call America to a higher, purer version of our National selves. That’s what a Statesman does. Instead, we were served up an ironic speech by a party puppet, one who talked about suffering racial indignities, but who nonetheless refused to label that treatment the true, but politically unsavory term, ”racism”. 

Admitting systemic racism doesn’t mean we have to stay this way. It’s like overcoming addiction…the first step is admitting there is a problem.

How many of my white friends ever received a talk about how to interact with police from your parents?

I sure didn’t. My parents weren’t afraid that if I faced a cop, I may be facing a cog in a system with an ingrained history of bias against our race, and that the ingrained bias may affect how the cop viewed me as a person.

What does white America lose to admit the obvious about systemic racism? What are we desperately trying to hide and deny and cover up here? This one is a clear-cut, no brainer. I don’t see any neutral ground. I don’t see but one right side. This issue really is black and white. 

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