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Black Republican Wins May Be Historic, But It’s Not Progress

In theory, the historic victories of Tim Scott (pictured right) and Mia Love (pictured) are worthy of celebration. After Sen. Jim DeMint resigned in November 2012, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley appointed Scott to the office – thus his win on Tuesday makes him not only the first Black senator elected by South Carolina, but the first Black politician to win stateside election in South Carolina since Reconstruction. And thanks to voters in Utah, Mia Love became the first Black Republican woman – as well as the first Haitian American – to be elected to Congress.

For a party who counts only a minuscule amount of Black people in its fold, to have two Black faces serve in two powerful positions sounds like progress for both the GOP and the rest of the country. However, as common as these remarks from Zora Neale Hurston may read, they are no less powerful or truthful: “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”

Fellow South Carolinian and Congressman James Clyburn understands this point, and like me, is not impressed with Scott’s victory. Speaking with the Washington Post, Clyburn explained, “If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the Black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”

This would include Scott openly speaking to the necessity of impeaching President Barack Obama; voting to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act; voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress; voting to delay funding a settlement between the United States and Black farmers who accused the federal government of refusing them loans because of their race; calling for the tightening of food stamp restrictions; and slicing the HIV/AIDS budget for South Carolina.

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