Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Wednesday delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, telling the country unequivocally that “America is not a racist country.”
Scott’s message stood starkly against that of Biden’s; the president told Congress during his own speech that “systemic racism plagues American life” in many ways and has, since becoming president, infused the concept of “racial equity” into several components of his agenda.
Scott, a black American who has described his road to success through his family going “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime,” admonished the education system for reintroducing discrimination to children. “Today, kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor,” he said.
“When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress, but powerful forces want to pull us apart,” Scott said. “A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic, and if they looked a certain way, they were inferior,” he continued, pointing to himself.
Scott railed against colleges, corporations, and cultural entities for profiting off “pretending we haven’t made any progress at all by doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.”
“You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” Scott declared. “It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination, and it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
Republican leaders chose Scott to deliver the response to Biden’s address because he is “one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation,” according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).