Should Tim Scott represent black America?


English: Congressional Portrait of Tim Scott (...

Tim Scott (R-SC) for the 112 United States congress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Lately I’ve gotten into a Twitter debate with Jamil Smith and his followers because I took exception to him, Adolph Reed and Joy Reid warning Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) against becoming a “token” black after being nominated by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to fill the US Senate seat soon to be vacated by Senator Tim DeMint (R-SC). Both Rep. Scott and Governor Haley are non-whites who are so-called “Tea Party” favorites. I tweeted that calling Rep. Scott a token hostile to black concerns because he is a conservative and supports pro-gun rights legislation was belittling and unhelpful in the gun violence debate.

 

I pointed out that black history (i.e., lynching) informs me of the need to preserve gun rights. The historical record shows that armed black men fought off lynch mobs, while unarmed black men sprouted like “strange fruit from poplar trees.” Better a live token with a gun than a dead man with tokens covering each eye.

 

None of Scott’s critics would think to criticize the popular Malcolm X poster depicting him at his window holding a carbine. In fact, Malcolm was armed in self-defense to protect Betty and his three little girls from black men intent on taking his life. His life was later taken because he let his guard down.

 

And if Scott’s critics are truly worried about urban violence, they should focus on disarming the thugs terrorizing black neighborhoods. They should work with Senator-designate Scott on legislation combating gun trafficking.

 

One tweeter, @LadyPurdee wrote “Uncle Tim does NOT represent his people.” She went on to ask cryptically, “who DOES he represent?” In fact, Rep. Scott won election to Congress in 2010 by defeating the son of Strom Thurmond in a run-off primary and besting a white Democrat in the general election. Did I mention that Scott’s Charleston district is predominantly white?

 

Before ascending to Congress, Scott was a widely respected business leader, insurance broker, and legislator. He owns an insurance agency and once headed the Charleston Business Council. I made it my business to learn about Mr. Scott because my wife Kennedy hails from Anderson, SC and always touts the talents of her folks. From my research, I learned that she wasn’t wrong about her people. Mr. Scott has an impressive background and record of success (his conservative political record notwithstanding).

 

As much as African Americans distrust the Republican Party— for good reason given the GOP’s public policies and race-baiting by some candidates— all of the black Republicans elected to Congress have represented nonblack districts. To me that says something about those districts and fulfills the spirit of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 more so than the Democratic districts packed with blacks, Hispanics and other nonwhites.

 

Many black critics of black Republican congressmen never seem to question why so few black Democrats are ever elected to represent predominantly white congressional districts. Who are the racists? Who are the tokens? The person elected by whites and blacks together who’s then expected to represent their interests? Or the person elected by minorities alone who’s often expected to only work on their narrow interests exclusively?

 

I can tell you that within progressive and liberal circles, black Democrats who dare go beyond orthodoxy and narrow minority interests are often accused of working in the interest of others. Meanwhile, white Democrats are free to advocate any policy, take up any cause or vote against black interests. Double-standard, racism or whatever you choose to call it, I reject it.

 

I urge US Senator-designate Tim Scott to take his place in the US Senate as a black man representing the interests of South Carolinians: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male and female, old and young. And that upon becoming a United States Senator, he should broaden his policy concerns, become less doctrinaire, and work across ideological partisan lines.

 

 

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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4 Responses to Should Tim Scott represent black America?

  1. John Andrew Kay says:

    Michael, thanks for the post.

    Speaking of The Post, a series of articles recently ran about the Tawana Brawley matter reaching back 25 years ago about the outrageous defamation of a totally innocent ADA who was accused of rape, sued to prove his innocence and won but his guilty detractors who had to pay a civil penalty never apologized while some of them now still stand as a spokesman but their past is never called into question by the press; while, conversely, Sen. Scott and Congressman West are continual targets of the left, et al., due in great measure for their common beliefs in the truths of the Bible…the same Bible that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stood on and preached during his leading of the Civil Rights Movement. The same Bible you and I base our common faith upon.

    On an historical correction note to those who sneer at Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery masterpiece, to paraphrase the old saying oft used by Black Panthers when asked about the numbers in their group, “Those who know don’t say and those who say don’t know;” the smears of Uncle Tom come from those who never read the book.

    The racial divide in this country is fanned, in my view, by those who profit from claiming to be the spokespersons, one of whom stood as the keynote speaker at the January 22, 1976 March For Life and declared in my hearing that, “Abortion is genocide against the Blacks!” Sadly, that is no longer his position even after that truth has been documented in Maafa21.

    Below is this writer’s take on Uncle Tom’s Cabin when he wrote an award winning paper as a law school student in 2004 (Best Paper Written by a Graduating Student): (My current position notwithstanding, all this is for attribution for its historical content…As I wrote in the Epilogue of this paper, I am grateful to the African-American Christians who have guided and molded by spiritual life and walk and I am grieved by those, both Black and White, who use the tragedies and struggles of the African-Americans who built and love this country as a political punch line for their own advancement.) All my love to you and Kennedy.

    Below is the excerpt from The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Rise of Influence Districts by Student John Andrew Kay (Touro Law Center 2004):

    Motivated by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the wife of a Congregational Church minister named Harriet Beecher Stowe put the horrible plight of the slaves into printed words by graphically depicting the depravity of slavery as well as writing stories about escaped slaves that were pursued by hunters empowered by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. During 1851 to 1852 Mrs. Stowe wrote a series of articles in Christian periodicals that aroused the conscience of the readers about the horrors of slavery. The articles were put together to form a novel entitled Uncle Tom’s Cabin which sold over 300,000 copies in one year alone.[1] Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s title character, Tom, was a slave who was a Christian that was beaten to death by his white master Simon Legree.[2] Absent the multi-media available to issue proponents that we see being used in the 20th and 21st centuries, Mrs. Stowe’s literary effort proved an extremely effective medium in the fight against slavery in the United States by bringing the plight of the slaves into the homes of the countless readers.[3]

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    • Thanks for your support and prayers. I believe that race relations will continue to improve despite the efforts of some to sow misinformation and stoke resentment. I believe in the promise of America and have faith in God.

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  2. Dale Benjamin Drakeford says:

    Points well made. In addition, I look forward to watching Scott’s position on the confederate flag debate that rages on. I happen to believe that the conferate flag is a part of American History and “Dixie” is folk heritage not to be denied. South Carolina holding to these cultural icons as such is not disrespectful. If South Carolina holds to slavery and separatism, that is another matter–but my hundreds of blood kin seems to think that is not the case (and I trust their contentment with lifestyle in the new south to tell the tale).

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  3. Pingback: Habari Gani, America!

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