An op-ed in today’s New York Times called Representative Tim Scott, the recent South Carolina Senate appointee to replace Jim DeMint, a “token.”
University of Pennsylvania professor Adolph L. Reed, who penned the op-ed, wrote that “black Republicans [like Scott] have been more tokens than signs of progress,” dismissing that Scott will serve as the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. He concluded his piece by saying: “Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that.”
Scott’s appointment is significant both today and historically, as he will be the only black senator in upcoming Congress, and will also serve as South Carolina’s first black senator.
Reed, who is a founding member of the Labor Party in the U.S., portrayed South Carolina as “the home to white supremacists like John C. Calhoun, Preston S. Brooks, Ben Tillman and Strom Thurmond.” In 2010, voters of the state’s first congressional district pulled the lever for Scott, where he ultimately defeated Thurmond’s son, Paul, in the Republican primary before eventually winning the seat.