Fear of a Black Candidate


As black Republican congressional candidate Tim Scott’s impending victory draws nearer in South Carolina’s First District, Scott detractors from both sides of the political spectrum are making their anger known in the most craven yet modern way possible: via the Internet.

Just this week, on the white supremacist message board Chimpout—to which I’ll not link—commenters discussed a new article about Scott before debating whether, if faced with the choice, they would “vote for a conservative nigger or a libtard human” (on Chimpout, “human” is slang for “white person”).


“I'm facing this very thing since I live in one of these districts,” wrote someone calling themselves “Whipper.” “I'm thinking of writing in but at the same time it could very well come down to the wire. I definitely don't want to give Pelosi/Obama any more power.” A commenter named “Reformed” added to that thought, saying, “I just sort of instinctively distrust a Black Republican. That just seems to run contrary to nigger interest of getting as much of the tax paying human's money as possible. … It'd be like voting for Log Cabin Republicans or Jews For Jesus something. I'd feel really strange.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to Tim Scott, not even African Americans can withhold their race-based hatred. Though the political ideologies of every black voter are certainly the polar opposite of those of their counterparts on Chimpout, some of their methods of attack are grotesquely similar.

On Jack & Jill Politics, “a black bourgeoisie perspective on U.S. politics,” an open thread about Scott quickly turned into a vile pit of hatred. “Tim Scott is a MOTHERF—-ING NIGGER AND A COON,” wrote “chris_i_am.” “[He’ll] do good for the white folk.” Echoing that sentiment was “CPL,” who said, “Give this coon the lantern and point him the way to the lawn…”

Besides an affinity for slurs, one assumes that what Scott’s anonymous white and black critics have in common is fear: the whites are afraid of a nation in which their dominance is questioned, especially when it’s questioned through conservative channels that were once theirs alone. And the blacks are leery of an African American who shows allegiance to a right-wing agenda that’s fought for centuries to oppress them. Ultimately the two meet in the bigoted middle, shocked and angered that the black experience isn’t as monolithic as they thought.

Though he’s having a major fundraiser this weekend, and though he’s practically a shoo-in for the victory, Scott increasingly reminds me a famous scene in To Kill a Mockingbird, when Scout asks Jem why Dolphus Raymond’s biracial children are “sad.” “They don't belong anywhere,” Jem tells her. “Colored folks won't have ‘em because they're half-white; white folks won't have ‘em ‘cause they're colored, so they're just in-betweens, don't belong anywhere.”

-Cord Jefferson is a staff writer at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.