By: Roy Douglas Malonson
“Hear me clearly,” says Senator Tim Scott, currently the only Black Republican senator, “America is not a racist country.”
Now, my expectations for 2021 are pretty low, but I never thought I’d hear such an egregious lie being uttered from the mouth of a Black person, no matter the political party.
Senator Scott’s rebuttal came in response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress Wednesday evening. As expected, many Republicans, conservatives, rightists, whatever they call themselves, rallied behind Scott to support the notion that the United States is not a racist country.
Surprisingly, our “Chucks and Pearls” wearing HBCU graduate Vice President Kamala Harris also panders to White America by responding that she too, does not believe that America is a racist country, but that we need to speak truth on racism.
What’s contradictory about VP Harris’ response, is that in order to speak the truth on racism in America, we have to admit that America is racist.
I want to believe that there is a general disagreement on what makes a country racist.
Senator Scott argues that American people can be racist, not the country. The issue with this is that racist people in America are often protected and rewarded by American laws.
We cannot say that racism in America is limited to a minor group of people, when we are currently exposing entire systems for their racist practices.
Systemic or institutional racism lies in the structures that build the United States. Systemic racism is racism that is immersed in the laws and practices of a society or organization. Examples of industries that have been proven time and time again to be embedded with racism include the educational system, the health care system, the economic system, the criminal justice system, etc.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black, American Indian, and Alaskan Native (AIAN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths than their white counterparts.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Black Americans are two times more likely to not have health insurance than white Americans. Experts say that unconscious and explicit discrimination in health care contribute to the health disparities as seen during COVID-19, which disproportionately affected Black communities.
The CDC also notes that Black women and men live shorter lives than their white counterparts. Black men have a life expectancy of 71.9 years, while white men have a life expectancy of 76.4 years. Black women have a life expectancy of 78.5 years compared to the life expectancy of white women, which lies at 81.2 years. These numbers are most likely due to health disparities and quality of food and resources in Black and white communities.
The Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies found that Black students face disproportionate suspension and discipline rates for the same behaviors as white students. Data also shows that Black girls, who are the most affected by disproportionate discipline, are overshadowed by the Black boys to white boys’ disciplinary ratio.
The Black community has one of the highest unemployment rates as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 17.6% of Hispanics, followed by 16.8% of Black people are unemployed compared to 12.4% of the white population.
And to top it all off, a study from the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, and Washington University report that Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. While Black and Hispanic people make up 32% of the U.S. population, they represent 56% of the U.S. incarcerated population.
These are not instances of racist actions and ideologies by a small amount of racist American people, these are systems, created and protected by American laws, that negatively affect the lives of racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Black people.
While I find Senator Scott’s remarks to be untruthful, Harris and the Democrats cannot leave this conversation unscathed. Rather than admit the truth and stand by the marginalized communities that have supported the Democratic Party, Vice President Harris decided to support nonsense and cater to white America. Considering her track record with the Black community as a California Senator, is this surprising?
I think deep down that Black people who supported Democrats knew that President Biden and Vice President Harris offered nothing but symbolism. I think we hoped that a Black and Asian woman Vice President who attended one of our sacred HBCUs and joined one of our most revered sororities would bring much needed progress and representation. But lately, it seems that representation has become white supremacy in Black face.
At the end of the day, Republicans will wave their token negro’s words over the experiences of millions of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) American citizens. Thousands of studies have shown that racism is embedded in the structures that make the United States function as it does. America IS a racist country, that’s an irrefutable truth.
P.S. White people (I’m talking to you, liberals and “allies”) should never use racial slurs against BIPOC. On social media there has been an onslaught of white liberals calling Senator Scott “Uncle Tim” in relation to the caricature Uncle Tom. There are many white liberals and so-called allies who are accusing Black people of not being inclusive for calling them out on their racism. White celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar have even gone as far as to try to explain racism to Tim Scott. Right or Left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, you will be called out for being a racist.
Remember our motto, “without fear or favor, we declare that NEWS will be reported through an analysis of what is happening in our communities.”