‘You Believe You Need to Disgrace Your Ancestors to Have a Chance’: Tim Scott Insinuates That Welfare Was Worse Than Slavery for Black Families at Republican Debate, Faces Backlash

Tim Scott, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, seemingly insinuated that welfare is worse than slavery for Black families— a remark that has left social media in an uproar. 

The South Carolina senator participated in the Republican primary debate in Simi Valley, California, which aired on Wednesday night on Fox News. Scott made the comments when the candidates were speaking about the country’s education system.

Tim Scott
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Black families survived slavery. We survived poll taxes and literacy tests,” Scott said. “We survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country.”

“What was hard to survive was Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to put money,” he continued but was interrupted as the crowd applauded. “Where they decided to take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail. And now you can measure that in unemployment, in crime, in devastation.”


Scott refers to policies initiated by former President Lyndon B. Johnson — notably aimed to abolish poverty and inequality, improving education and the environment. One of the significant contributions was solidifying Medicare and Medicaid for those who are poor and elderly. 

“If you want to restore hope, you’ve got to restore the family, restore capitalism, and put Americans back at work together as one American family,” Scott added. “Our nation continues to go in the right direction. It’s why I can say I have been discriminated against, but America is not a racist country.”

People on social media scoffed at Scott’s remarks, with former Ohio state senator Nina Turner calling him a “disgrace.”

“Imagine being Black and running in a political party where you believe you need to disgrace your ancestors to have a chance,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote.

“Never trust anyone who hates the group to which they belong,” another person chimed in. “The next time someone pretends only white people can spread or embrace white supremacy, show them this clip,” wrote another user.

Read the original story at Atlanta Black Star.

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