Is Sen. Scott right 'America is not a racist country?'
- Republican Timothy Scott has been the junior Senator of South Carolina since 2013, serving the people through his Opportunity Zones initiative and continued focus on “workforce development, education, and diversity.”
- On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, President Biden addressed Congress for the first time referencing the pandemic, his infrastructure plan, job creation, education, racism, and other essential issues.
- Sen. Scott addressed Biden’s speech for the Republican rebuttal, saying, “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.” He also stated, “Believe me, I know firsthand our healing is not finished.”
- The racist slur ‘Uncle Tim’ trended on Twitter following Sen. Scott’s speech.
- In response, Biden mirrored Scott’s initial comment, “America is not a racist country, but that Black Americans have been left behind and we have to deal with it.”
Senator Tim Scott is correct in declaring the truth that 'America is not a racist country.' His own success as a black US senator is proof of his thesis. Unequal outcomes among minorities are often cited as evidence of systemic racism, but this is a fallacy. Minorities have equal access to public education; there are no race-based barriers in place. Yet, educational attainment differs widely among ethnic groups. For example, Asians achieve bachelor's degrees at nearly twice the rate of Blacks. This demonstrates that there is no inherent bias against minorities.
Economic disparity is an often-cited indicator of racism. But let's consider two key determinants of economic prosperity: avoiding out-of-wedlock childbirths and educational attainment. Single mothers are nearly six times more likely to be poor than married couples (34% to 6%). Unwed births vary widely among Blacks and Asians. Seven out of ten births to Black women are out-of-wedlock; this compares to only one out of 10 for Asians. Added to the disparity in college achievement noted above (bachelor's degree holders earn 50% more than high school diploma holders), and it's easy to see why Asians are doing demonstratively better economically than Black Americans.
Finally, frequently offered as another 'proof' of racism in the criminal justice system is minority incarceration rates. However, a person does not arbitrarily get convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison. Prison is the result of a deliberate act to break society's laws. Black citizens are imprisoned at a rate 10 times higher than Asians when adjusted for their relative populations in the US. The evidence tells us that minorities differ in their values and behavior, but this does not make America a racist country.
Senator Tim Scott is not right to say, 'America is not a racist country,' as racial bias and disparities sadly do still exist today in key areas of American society. Perhaps within the criminal justice system, racial bias has recently been spotlighted the most by the Black Lives Matter social justice movement. According to a recent study, 'Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White men.' There have also been documented racial bias with plea bargains and sentencing, and recent Bureau of Justice statistics reveal that most inmates in federal and state prisons are Black, despite this race only being 13% of the US population.
According to the National Center for Education, there is also racial disparity in education in the percent of four-year college graduates, with Asian American and White graduation rates significantly higher than Hispanic/Latino, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native rates. Even a four-year degree, though, may not prevent someone from still experiencing racial bias in the job hiring process. Another recent study of Asian American and Black applicants found that 'companies are more than twice as likely to call minority applicants for interviews if they submit 'whitened' resumes than candidates who reveal their race.' Racial disparities and bias in advanced education and being hired for employment further exacerbate the racial wealth gap and negatively impact the ability to do things like buying a home, access better health care, and improve the overall quality of life. While it would be wonderful to believe that America is no longer a racist country, the harsh reality of the facts reveals the truth.