Race and Ethnicity

Is the United States a racist country?

For the prosecution.

By Rashawn Ray Brookings Institute

South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott shocked many people when, in response to President Joe Biden’s congressional address, he stated that America is not a racist country.” He admitted that he himself had experienced the pain of discrimination,” and noted, I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason, to be followed around a store while I’m shopping.” When asked oABC’s Good Morning America the following day, Vice President Kamala Harris seemed to agree with Scott when she said, “I don’t think America is a racist country.” Yet immediately following this sentence she quickly pointed out, “But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.” 

As Soledad O’Brien said, “It sounds like a racist country to me,” in response to Scott—but it seemingly applies to comments by Harris as well. President Biden, who seemed to not pull any punches during his speech, stated, “We have a real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues America.” However, Biden appeared to walk back his remarks on The Today Show to align more with Harris and Scott (to a certain degree) by noting that slavery and Jim Crow laws had a cost.   

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