GOP senators want to heal racism by having Sunday dinners

Sens. Tim Scott and James Lankford are starting a new initiative called "Solution Sundays" in an attempt to heal race relations.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma are starting a new initiative called “Solution Sundays” in an attempt to heal race relations.

The idea is simple enough: on Sundays, invite someone of a different race over for dinner.

“For me, it’s hard to hate what you know,” Scott said. “And it’s just so simple. It’s hard to hate what you know.”

The two senators therefore asked their constituents and others to set aside Sunday for a little healing.

“Sunday is a significant day for most families in America — still, in whatever way with their families, or faith or whatever it may be,” Lankford said. “And we said, ‘If you want to be part of the solution for race in America, set aside lunch or dinner and just invite a family over of another race, and just sit down and have a meal together.”

According to Scott, the initiative has already had a positive influence on people who participated.

“It’s surprising how many people come back and say, ‘They’re just like me.’ What did you expect?” he said with a laugh. “It’s one of the reasons why people are comfortable with people like themselves. What they don’t realize is that we’re all about the same. We all struggle with finances, with kids, with spouses, some people struggle with the Patriots. I love the Cowboys.”

“It doesn’t cost anything,” Lankford said. “There’s no program, there’s no website, there’s not app for it. It’s just your family inviting another family over.”

Scott, who is a black Republican in the South, which he says makes him a sort of “unicorn,” the initiative is just an extension of his own experiences.

“Every day of my life it’s a Senate lunch or a meeting in South Carolina, I find myself in a room that is consistently 100% white,” he explained. “And when I go home almost every weekend I’m having meals with my family and often times that could be all black. So it happens that I get to have both experiences, and that’s how I know how close we are all. We’re very similar. Very similar.”

Scott also said that the simplicity of just having dinner, without politics, is what makes the idea work.

“When you start bringing political issues, legislative priorities to the table, you start seeing people drift to their corners,” he said. “What you first have to do is build the rapport and credibility so that you actually can solve some of the problems that government has not solved in at least 50 years of intentional effort because it really can’t be solved there.”