Senator Tim Scott, a Republican representing South Carolina, penned a thoughtful piece in The Washington Post on how some fellow Republicans like Steve King are damaging the party by spewing thoughts that lack basic fairness and civility yet wonder why the party is considered to be racist.
Scott said for too long Republicans have been silent on issues of racism. He drew attention to comments made by King on Thursday, when the Iowan wondered aloud: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
“I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term “Western civilization” on its own, but anyone who needs “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge,” Scott wrote in the The Washington Post.
Scott went on to discuss incidents of white supremacy, including the white supremacist who recently killed two black people in a parking lot in Kentucky; the rally in Charlottsville, 18 months ago, when white nationalists killed a white woman with a car and “severely beat multiple black people;” an incident four years ago when a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, S.C. and the 1998 killing of James Byrd, Jr., where white supremacists dragged the Black man behind their pickup truck through Jasper, Tex. Byrd was decapitated in the killing.
“These are just a sliver of the havoc that white nationalists and white supremacists have strewn across our nation for hundreds of years. Four little girls killed in a bombing in Birmingham, Ala., thousands lynched and countless hearts and minds turned cruel and hateful,” Scott wrote.
Yet, when Americans hear people like King claim that white nationalists and white supremacists are not offensive, it has a negative impact on the entire Republican party.
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people,” Scott wrote in the newspaper.
He said it’s a shame and he could no longer remain silent because these accusations of racism fly in the face of the otherwise good work the party is doing. For example, Scott mentioned that over the past two years, “Republicans have focused on spreading opportunity, and it has paid dividends: From the creation of opportunity zones in some of our nation’s most distressed communities to amazing job-creation statistics and low unemployment rates, there’s no doubt that the future is brightening for many Americans.”
Yet still, the party struggles with a negative perception on civility and fairness brought on by people who make comments like King, or the people in the Republican Party who remain silent instead of ridiculing comments like King’s.
“We have made significant progress in our nation, and while there is still work to do, we cannot let these intolerant and hateful views hold us back. This is a uniquely fractured time in our nation’s history, not our worst but far from our best, and it is only together that we will rebuild the trust we seem to have lost in each other,” Scott wrote in The Washington Post. “We must work to lead our nation forward. In the future, I hope Steve King takes the opportunity to join us.”