The panel’s discussion followed a full day of criticism of Scott from the left, which came in response to his Wednesday night rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress. Scott was particularly criticized for declaring, “America is not a racist country.”
Guest host Jason Johnson expressed his disappointment in the “Uncle Tim” hashtag that trended on Twitter after Scott spoke, saying it reminded him of when former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was called “Aunt Jemima” when she worked in the Bush administration.
Fordham University professor, Christina Greer didn’t feel the same way, in a clip flagged by NewsBusters.
“I definitely find it problematic, but I think it’s also one of those things where on social media the internal conversations that many Black people have about Tim Scott and the Republican Party have now made their way to the public discourse,” Greer said. “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 went on to blame the Republican Party as responsible for Scott growing up in a one-bedroom house, his grandfather not knowing how to read, and the failing schools he attended because of what she claimed were their policies on equality and education.
“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 said.
Johnson didn’t address Greer’s defense of the “Uncle Tim” slur. He instead turned to Columbia University professor Jelani Cobb and said the criticism could be made that Scott “sold his soul” to the Republican Party that “oppressed” him and his family while saying referring to him as “Uncle Tim” was still offensive.
Cobb didn’t directly address the use of the phrase to describe Scott, only saying “there’s a lot to it on many levels” and Scott didn’t “know what racism is.”
He added Scott only appeared at the commemoration of the nine Black people murdered by Dylann Roof in 2015 because he was trying to build GOP political capital to support his police reform efforts.
“But even in that light, it’s indefensible to make these comments in the context of how many — I’ve lost track of how many unarmed black people have been killed this month in encounters with police,” Cobb said. “And so if he wanted to have this debate about whether or not America is a racist country — I mean, I disagree with him and Kamala Harris. Yes, this is a racist country.”