Craig Melvin, a journalist-host of the third hour of NBC’s “Today Show,” recently interviewed Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Both Melvin and Scott are black, Scott being the only black Republican currently in the Senate. Melvin directed Scott to respond to questions surrounding criminal justice reform and the ugly and needless death of George Floyd.
“Senator,” Melvin began, “you have faced a fair amount of criticism, especially over the past few days, because you are the only black Republican Senator. Some have said that your party is using you, they’ve even thrown around the word ‘token,’ as well. Your response to that criticism?” Scott faced criticism because he is the only black Republican Senator? That makes no sense except to a racist. Melvin didn’t name the “some have said,” assuming they exist, and it was clearly Melvin who was using Scott to advance his narrative/agenda and to illustrate his moral superiority.
I am sick and tired of smarmy, egotistical journalists, steeped in their white and/or reportorial privilege, addressing black Republicans/conservatives like they are children, traitors, or lepers. “Journalists” are almost universally hypocritical, utterly oblivious to their own intolerance and racist, bigoted attitudes and biases. After suggesting that Sen. Scott somehow serves as a “token” African-American for the GOP, it would not have been surprising to hear him insinuate that Scott is an “Uncle Tom.” This is a commonly used trope the enlightened fling at black conservatives. Nor would I have been shocked if Melvin had referred to Scott as “Aunt Jemima” or “Little Black Sambo.”
The truth is that those who are too shallow to think for themselves resent those who are not, so they resort to calling them names.
If you haven’t escaped the plantation, proof that it’s possible can be infuriating.