Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) recent claim that “America is not a racist country” has elicited strong reactions, including from fellow African American members of Congress. Scott is the lone Black Republican in the Senate.
“Do we need to have a conversation about race in America? Absolutely. So, we can stop that crap of ‘there is no racism.’” — Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Michigan’s sole African American member of Congress, says she’s disappointed in Scott’s comments.
Listen: Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence reacts to Sen. Scott’s comments.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence is a Democrat representing Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. She says the members of the Congressional Black Caucus respect Scott for his accomplishments, but strongly disagree with his claims about race.
“Tim Scott is an African American who has achieved the level of being elected to the office of Senator. So, we are quite proud of him, it is quite an accomplishment, obviously outside the norm,” she says. “Then he’s also a Republican, so he’s outside the norm, as he’s in a party where African Americans are very narrowly — if at all — represented.”
Lawrence says she was disappointed and confused by Scott’s statement. “What box was he checking? And why did he feel the need to say something that’s not true?” she asks.
Lawrence points to several facts about the economic and health disparities between Black people and other Americans, as well as her own experiences with racism. “Do we need to have a conversation about race in America? Absolutely. So, we can stop that crap of ‘there is no racism in America,’” she says.
She says she has yet to have an opportunity to discuss the statement with Scott, but she is looking forward to the conversation. “We have had heated discussions before. I’ve literally said ‘How in the world can you be a Republican?’”
Web story written by Dan Netter.