My level-headed acceptance of this whitesplainery had nothing to do with Tim Scott being a sellout or—as he said people call him—an “Uncle Tom.” It was because Tim Scott has said this before. I was unbothered because I have personally asked Tim Scott if he believes America is racist, to which he replied:

“I’m not a philosopher so I don’t sit back and think through these definitions as much as others do,” Scott told The Root. “There’s racism in America and I do not think we are a racist country. I think there are racial outcomes in policing, even though I don’t think police by and large are racist. I think that we have pockets of racism within the police departments, but I think most people who become cops do so for the right reasons.”


“I just want to find a way to create a better outcome for my nephew and my cousins, who are 3 and 4 years old, don’t have to worry about systemic, systematic or whatever you guys call the crap that you and I have to worry about,” Scott explained, adding

“I’m far more interested in improving the outcomes of people that look like me because I was black before I got to the Senate and I’m going to be black after I leave the Senate.”

But this article is not about Tim Scott or The Root’s coverage of him. This article is about what Tim Scott said. We wanted to know if there is any validity to his argument. If America is indeed not a racist country, surely there’d be a way to quantify it.

So we checked.

We wanted to do this objectively, using quantifiable data and information, so we checked five categories to measure the political, social and economic impact of racism in America. But first, we had to get one thing out of the way.


What is racism?

Although many would argue that some measure of power and authority is needed for a person or country to be racist, we wanted to use the whitest narrowest possible definition to avoid white people saying: “But what about...?” So we used Merriam-Webster’s definition:

  1. (a) a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Or (b)

    (b) behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief : racial discrimination or prejudice. 
  2. (a) the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another

    (b) a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles

It is inarguable that America is a political system founded on the racist principles of slavery, the genocide of Indigenous Americans, and a Constitution that officially declared that a Black life to be worth 60 percent of a white person’s. But that only means that America was racist.

Here are the facts:


Source: ThinkNow, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey
Source: ThinkNow, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey
Graphic: The Root



Criminal Justice



Social Issues


Now, Tim Scott would tell you that these are “unequal outcomes.” He would say that racism is something else, then define it so narrowly that evidence of racism requires a burning cross and DNA markers that spell out the n-word. But I invite you to scroll up and look at the definition of racism. Or, better yet, pull out your own dictionary.

How does this not describe “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another?” This is the textbook definition of a “political or social system...designed to execute” the principles of racism. The only way anyone could deny these disparities were due to racism is if they believed that all the non-white people in history were resistant to hard work, were dumber, were more violent, or more succinctly, that “race is the fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities.”


Your conservative fave would still call me a race-baiter by pointing out all of these statistics. They would say that this is not evidence of racism, they’d just dispute my agenda. They’d ask “what about what the Democrats did in 1838?” They’d talk about Lincoln and the 1994 crime bill or whether or not I love Jesus. They’d never engage in an honest discussion of the facts and data, because...

Because they are liars.

Because they are racists.

But, in the spirit of fairness, I must admit one thing.

They’re American as fuck.