Rev. Al Sharpton was asked to speak at the homegoing service for Andrew Brown Jr., a Black fatally shot in North Carolina last month. During his remarks, Sharpton responded to Sen. Tim Scott's assertion that America was "not a racist" nation.
“I watched, the other night, the president make his first address to the joint session of Congress," Sharpton said.
"And then I watched the rebuttal by the senator from South Carolina. Seems something awkward to me, where a white president talked about white supremacy and a Black senator said America is not racist. Seemed a little strange to me."
Sharpton went on to say that every person in America is not racist, but the country was built on racist practices and racist systems.
“Now, everybody in America is not racist. But are you talking about whether the practice of America's racist, or the people, cause the practice of America was built on racism," he continued.
Sharpton's comments are not all that different from those provided by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The two politicians said that America is "not a racist" nation before explaining how racism continues to affect everyday life in America.
"First of all, no, I don't think America is a racist country, but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today," Harris told Good Morning America.
"I don’t think the American people are racist...But I think after 400 years, African Americans have been left in a position where they are so far behind the 8 ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity," Biden said a day later.
Their comments gained the approval of the man they seemingly wanted to disagree with. Sen. Tim Scott issued a tweet thanking them for seeing that American was not a racist nation.
"No amount of backward bigotry will shake my faith in the goodness of America," Sen. Tim Scott tweeted.
"I meant what I said on Wednesday night, and I’m glad Joe Biden and Kamala Harris agreed with me: America is not a racist country."
Critics have raised issues with both the President and Vice President's statements. Pulitzer Prize nominee Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor accused the two of wanting things to go "both ways."
"Democrats want it both ways. They want to curry favor with the movement by decrying 'systemic racism' while Biden claims no one is racist and Harris says the U.S. is not a racist country. Someone smarter than me please explain how all of this can be true," Taylor tweeted.
"How can you promise to root out systemic racism in a country that’s not racist and where the people aren’t racist? Who runs the systems?" author Derecka Purnell added.
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