Senator Tim Scott defended himself on Wednesday against criticism of his comments that ‘woke supremacy’ was as bad as white supremacy, saying that he has been the target of racial slurs from liberals for being a ‘token’ Republican.
‘I am proud to be both a black man and a Republican,’ Scott said on Tuesday.
‘Because of those aspects of my identity, many critics have ignored things I have actually done.’
Scott, the South Carolina senator who became the first African-American since Reconstruction to represent a Southern state in the US Senate, said that ‘woke supremacy’ – like white supremacy – is ‘rooted in racism or discrimination.’
While acknowledging that white supremacy has a longer and deadlier history in the United States than ‘woke supremacy,’ Scott nonetheless accused liberals of showing ‘intolerance for dissent.’
‘That is woke supremacy,’ Scott wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Tuesday.
‘It is the “tolerant” left’s intolerance for dissent. It is a progressive conception of diversity that does not include diversity of thought.
Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, hit out at critics who have called him a ‘token’, saying: ‘I am proud to be both a black man and a Republican’
‘It is discrimination falsely marketed as inclusion.’
Scott’s op-ed was in response to a piece by Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, who published commentary on March 13 defending MSNBC host Joy Reid.
Reid caused a stir on her March 1 broadcast when she referred to Scott as a ‘Republican prop.’
Reid claimed that Republicans are just using Scott to show a ‘patina of diversity’ within the party and has repeatedly pleaded for the South Carolina senator not to succumb to that role.
She also has a history of smearing black conservatives.
‘You’ve got to love Tim Scott standing there to provide the patina of diversity over that round of words, that basket full of words,’ Reid said during a segment on her show with progressive Representative Pramila Jayapal.
A week later, Scott appeared on Fox News with his former Congressional colleague and fellow South Carolinean Trey Gowdy.
‘When she calls a United States senator who’s a subject matter expert a prop, a token, or a superficial covering, that’s personal and that’s wrong and she should be held to account,’ Gowdy, who hosts a show on Fox News, said when speaking with Scott on March 8.
‘Woke supremacy is as bad as white supremacy,’ Scott told Gowdy.
‘We need to take that seriously.’
Scott responded to the comments by saying people need to read the Bible verse Matthew 5:44, which urges people to love their enemies.
Earlier this month, Scott caused a stir when he responded to MSNBC host Joy Reid’s comments by saying: ‘Woke supremacy is as bad as white supremacy.’ On March 1, Reid sparked controversy when she said Scott was a ‘Republican prop’
A week after Reid’s comments, Scott (right) appeared on Fox News with host Trey Gowdy (left) and said: ‘Woke supremacy is as bad as white supremacy. We need to take that seriously’
Days after Scott’s appearance on Fox News, Capehart, who is also black, accused the senator of ‘complicity’ in ‘maintaining silence’ that allows a ‘dominant culture’ to continue to ‘deny dignity’ to those who ‘rise up and demand it in defiance.’
‘“Woke supremacy”” is not real,’ Capehart writes. ‘But white supremacy is very real.’
Capehart writes that Scott should ‘ask the families of those murdered’ by Dylann Roof, a white gunman in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, ‘whether something as ridiculous as “woke supremacy” is as bad as white supremacy.’
Roof, 26, killed nine black parishioners at a chuch and wounded one with a Glock 41 .45-caliber handgun. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
Scott responded to Capehart on Wednesday, saying that he was ‘not comparing the long history of racial hate to the very short history of wokeism.’
‘That would be ludicrous,’ Scott writes.
‘I am painfully aware that four centuries of racism, bigotry and killings does not compare to the nascent woke movement.
‘As a country, we continue to pay a heavy price for our original sin.’
He added: ‘My comments were a sound-bite-length reaction to yet another media figure accusing me of being a token for Republicans.
‘Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that type of slur.’
Scott said that he has been targeted by the ‘woke folk’ who have called him ‘a member of the “coon squad”’ for speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2020.
He also said he has been labeled as a ‘ventriloquest puppet’ by a former leader of the NAACP in North Carolina, the Rev. William Barber.
‘I’ve been called an Uncle Tom and a house n—–, among thousands of other insults,’ Scott said.
He defended his record, saying that as a lawmaker he has achieved much for African Americans, including securing more funding for historically black colleges and universities as well as passing legislation to help those stricken with sickle cell anemia.
Jonathan Capehart, a columnist for The Washington Post, defended Reid and hit out at Scott last week, saying that he bore ‘complicity’ in ‘maintaining silence’ that allows a ‘dominant culture’ to continue to ‘deny dignity’ to those who ‘rise up and demand it in defiance’
‘Critics discount these accomplishments for the black community because it conflicts with the caricature they’ve created of what it means to be black and to be a Republican,’ Scott writes.
The senator also accuses progressives of making death threats against Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist Democrat from Arizona, after she voted against a federally mandated $15 minimum wage.
Scott also hit out at ‘woke culture’ for encouraging ‘ideological and literal segregation’.
He cited plans by students at Columbia University in New York to host separate graduation celebrations for students based on ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Scott also cited ‘autonomous zones’ that sprang up in several cities during the riots that followed in the wake of the death of George Floyd last year.
‘Carving out public spaces for people of only one race or mind-set? Since when is separate but equal back in vogue?’ Scott writes.
‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’
In 2013, Scott was appointed by then South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to take retiring Senator Jim DeMint’s seat when he stepped aside to become president of conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.
He retained his seat officially after winning a special election in 2014 and won his first full term election in 2016. He is up for reelection in 2022.