The Corner

Politics & Policy

Kamala Harris and Tim Scott Agree U.S. Not a ‘Racist Country.’ Only One Is Treated Like a Complete Idiot

Vice President Kamala Harris applauds as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS)

Let’s pause to appreciate something Vice President Kamala Harris said this morning. And then, perhaps those who piled on Senator Tim Scott for saying the same thing could allow themselves to understand his point.

“No, I don’t think America is a racist country,” Harris said on ABC’s Good Morning America, on the heels of President Biden’s address to Congress and the South Carolina Republican’s response that’s got everyone so worked up.

Ah, but there was a but. Okay, here’s the rest of Harris’s commentary on the matter: “But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.”

Yet that’s what Scott also attempted to do in his response last night, with his personal accounts of being “pulled over for no reason,” of being “followed” while shopping, of knowing the “pain of discrimination.” He went on to dispute the notion that we haven’t made progress, now-famously declaring that “America is not a racist country.”

The concept both he and the vice president are speaking to draws a basic distinction: acts of racism can run through a country’s history and still demand attention – and condemnation – today, without the country itself being fundamentally racist in character.

That’s one opinion, arrived at earnestly, and it shouldn’t be mercilessly mocked. But because Senator Tim Scott said it first, he was treated like a rube, a wretch, and, if the “Uncle Tim” phrase trending overnight on Twitter is any gauge, a race traitor.

A sampling of the reaction:

This was the consensus in some corners of cable news last night, as my colleague David Harsanyi chronicled.

It’s unlikely Kamala Harris will face the same derision, nor should she.

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