‘Yes, this is a racist country’: MSNBC panel claims Tim Scott doesn’t ‘know what racism is’

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An MSNBC panel discussion devolved into pure racism Thursday, with two university professors and a host disparaging South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott as a “poster boy” who “sold out” and is “carrying the water” for the Republican Party.

The panel discussion began with regular host Joy Reid’s fill-in, Jason Johnson, suggesting it’s OK to say that Scott “sold out,” but questioning whether #UncleTim trending on Twitter had been a step too far.

“You can criticize Tim Scott all you want, say he’s sold out, Tim Scott was lying or dishonest, but nationally #UncleTim was trending on Twitter last night. To me it was reminiscent of people referring to Condoleezza Rice as Aunt Jemima during the Bush administration. From your viewpoint, what do you think about the fact that that was trending last night, and do you find it as problematic as I did?” he said.

Watch the discussion below:

(Video: MSNBC)

Christina Greer, a Fordham University political science associate professor who specializes in “black ethnic politics,” replied by saying that, while she found the hashtag “problematic,” she understood it.

“I mean, let’s be clear, looking at Tim Scott’s response, we know that he’s carrying the water, not just for the Republican Party and his two other black colleagues, but he did so under the Trump administration, and that’s where the lack of respect comes from,” she said.

Greer then spouted a list of lies about the Republican Party.

“When he talks about growing up in a one-bedroom house, ask yourself, why did you grow up in a one-bedroom house? Because your party doesn’t believe in equality. Ask yourself why your grandfather didn’t know how to read? It’s because your party actually defunds education,” she said.

“Ask yourself why it is that you went to failing schools? It’s because your party doesn’t value education, especially for black youths, especially for people in the south. So the fact that Tim Scott tried to make it an individual conversation when it should be a larger, institutional problem that his party is part of, and one of the main reasons why we have such inequity, explains why this Uncle Tim hashtag was trending,” Greer added.

Slavery and Jim Crow are legacies of the Democrat Party, not the Republican Party. Moreover, the party most opposed to school choice, which the data shows black Americans overwhelmingly support, is the modern Democrat Party.

Johnson then turned his attention to his other guest, Columbia Journalism School professor Jelani Cobb, and asked him for his thoughts on the #UncleTim hashtag.

“[T]o me, you can make the criticism that basically Tim Scott has sold his soul to the conservative Republican Party that has oppressed him and his family, but a lot of people don’t necessarily understand why referring to him as Uncle Tim is offensive. To me, it has to do with the idea that no outside community has the right to dictate what black authenticity is,” he said.

Unlike Greer, Cobb didn’t say that he found the hashtag “problematic.” Instead he mocked Scott for trying to pursue his own police reform bill separate from the Democrats’ bill and argued that that he doesn’t “know what racism is.”

“The most charitable version of what you can see in Tim Scott is that he was trying to grease the wheels for whatever kinds of political reforms or police reforms we’re going to get with his bill. He’s trying to build up political capital that’ll allow him to bring some of his Republican colleagues along,”  he said.

“But even in that light, it’s indefensible to make these comments in the context of how many unarmed black people have been killed this month in encounters with police. So if he wants to have this debate, about whether or not America is a racist country, I disagree with him,” Cobb added.

The vast majority of fatal police shootings involving “unarmed” black suspects have been shown to have been justified.

“Yes, this is a racist country. When we look at the institutional outcomes, every single major institution that we have has a racial disparity in what the outcomes are, in what the relationships are. If that doesn’t qualify you as a racist country, you don’t know what racism is,” Cobb added.

But racial disparity doesn’t prove racial bias because correlation does not imply causation. It’s not clear why he apparently isn’t aware of this.

The discussion concluded with Greer calling Scott a “poster boy” for the Republican Party, which is another term for token.

I think Tim Scott is their poster boy. He’s their one. So if they’re going to talk about a racial issue, he’s the one. Give it to Mikey. Put him out front. Let him talk about policing and cops and whatever it may be,” she said.

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Vivek Saxena

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