South Carolina’s first black senator, Tim Scott, refused to make his appointment to the post a racial issue, although his political affiliation has already caused at least one media figure to suggest he’s not an authentic black man.
“Eighteen years ago the citizens of Charleston County, countywide, gave me the opportunities to represent them based on values and issues,” Sen.-designate Tim Scott, R-S.C., replied when asked what it means to him personally that Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., appointed him to replace outgoing Senator Jim DeMint. “A couple years later the folks from the state house seat 117 gave me an opportunity to represent their issues and their values. A few years ago, the first district gave me an opportunity to represent their issues and their values.”
Scott emphasized that race has not been an issue in his career as a Dixie lawmaker. “What I’ve not ever really heard on the campaign trail was, ‘beside the fact that you’re black’ or ‘because you’re black, here’s what we’re going to do,’” he told reporters. “They’ve asked me questions about values and issues. And that’s an amazing thing. It speaks to the evolution of South Carolina and our nation. It speaks to the heart of the good people in our nation and specifically in our state.”
Indianapolis radio host Amos Brown tweeted this criticism of Scott’s selection: “Gee, courtesy of S Carolina GOP, the nation gets Tim Scott an ultra-rightwing, Tea Party devotee US Senator who’s Black only in skin color.”
Brown’s remark appears to be of a piece with ESPN analyst Rob Parker’s suggestion that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is “a cornball brother” rather than a real black man.
“He’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause; he’s not one of us,” Parker suggested last week, noting that Griffin is engaged to a white woman and rumored to be a Republican.