Posts Tagged ‘black Republican’

The Southern Republicans embrace diversity

November 14, 2014

Tim Scott, a black Republican, was elected U.S. Senator from South Carolina, the same state that produced John C. Calhoun, the 19th century defender of states’ rights and slavery, and Strom Thurmond, the 20th century defender of states’ rights and racial segregation.

He’ll be the first black Republican Senator from the South since the end of Reconstruction.  He represents the ethnic diversity of Southern Republicans, which include Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, of south Asian heritage, and Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, of Hispanic heritage.

He won a special election, after being appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to head The Heritage Foundation.  He is one of two African-Americans currently in the Senate.  The other is Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey.

His victory goes to show that white Southern Republicans are open to members of minority groups who reflect their conservative opinions and values, which Scott does.  Scott is a believer in the Booker T. Washington view that black Americans should pull themselves up by their own efforts and not expect whites to defend their rights.

It also goes to show how little diversity at the top of American society affects things at the bottom.  The reason that the majority of black Americans vote against Republicans is not because they’re white, but because they’re conservative.  If they didn’t vote for Senator DeMint, there’s no reason to expect them to vote for someone of DeMint’s views, just because the person is black.

The reason that a large majority of black Americans vote for progressives and Democrats, and a small majority vote for conservatives and Republicans, is not that either side is racist—at least, not necessarily.  It is that whether you have a light skin or a dark skin has a lot to do with your experience of life in the USA.


Tim Scott won South Carolina’s Senate seat: The first black Republican Senator elected from the South since Reconstruction by Jamelle Boule for Slate.  Good insights on race in American politics.