NAACP leader compares Tim Scott to 'dummy' for tea party 'ventriloquist'
January 21st, 2014
03:37 PM ET
6 years ago

NAACP leader compares Tim Scott to 'dummy' for tea party 'ventriloquist'

(CNN) - Sen. Tim Scott declined Tuesday to "reflect seriously" on comments made by a civil rights activist who accused Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, of being a puppet for the tea party.

"Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man," Scott said in a statement. "And Rev. (William) Barber will remind me and others of what not to do."

Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, made the initial comments in a speech at a church in the senator's home state of South Carolina.

"A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy," Barber said Sunday night, according to The State.

Barber said "the extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he's the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the tea party."

Barber's remarks came as he was offering criticism of African-Americans who he said aren't following in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., including black youths who kill each other and those "who wear their pants down to their knees," according to The State.

Barber is a vocal political and civil rights activist who helped lead the "Moral Monday" demonstrations outside of state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina last year. In an opinion piece for CNN.com, he detailed the movement's resistance against what they saw as an aggressive conservative agenda pushed by the GOP-dominated legislature.

Scott, responding through the statement, said he has never met Barber.

"To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way," Scott said.

It's not the first time Scott, the second black Republican to serve in the Senate after Reconstruction, has run into tension with civil rights activists.

His office said in August that organizers of the 50th anniversary March on Washington event did not invite the senator–one of only nine African Americans ever to hold office in the upper chamber–to speak at the ceremony.

Scott, who was a U.S. congressman at the time, was appointed to his Senate seat by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in December 2012 after then-Sen. Jim DeMint announced he was retiring. Scott is running to keep the seat in a special election this November.


Filed under: NAACP • Tim Scott
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Barber is a racist.

    January 21, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. ERic

    I am not a fan of the tea party, but this really goes to show how the NAACP has their lips firmly wrapped around certain organs of the Democratic party and isn't really about advancing Blacks.

    January 21, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. ORChuck

    "Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man," Scott said in a statement.

    It's a very sad day when a president of the NAACP has to be reminded of the example set by the Rev. Dr. King Jr.

    January 21, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. woodie

    I'm glad to see Scott serve no matter what his politics. I find racist black people calling out other black people patently ridiculous. If you are stuck in a civil rights loop, you need to step back and let this country heal.

    January 21, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Deltron N'Ganbgo

    Does Tim Scott wear his pants at a normal level? Well then, no wonder black folk hate him.

    January 21, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. ORChuck

    Barber said "the extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he's the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the tea party."

    This raises a very important question: what makes a person "black?" Is "black" still defined by your DNA, or has "black" become a sort of political party defined by opinions, positions, and ideology?

    January 21, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "No wonder they can't get equality. That would mean they would have to go to school and work like the rest of us instead of gang banging."

    Yeah! Or maybe it's because racist meatheads like you stereotype and generalize and make gross prejudgments and then discriminate based on it? Please see my advice to Ryan.

    January 21, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. ORChuck

    "Filed under: NAACP • Tim Scott"

    CNN, I think this also ought to be filed under Rev. William Barber too so that searches can find it that way too.

    January 21, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. DustyOnes

    Sue him Scott.

    January 21, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Dan

    I do have to laugh when Blacks call other Blacks uncle Toms or House...well, you know.

    As one wise old black man told me, "blacks are like crabs in the pot." He flipped off the lid on a bushel of crabs and pointed out how the ones on top could easily crawl away, but the ones underneath were reaching up and hold them down. The ones on the bottom were literally keeping the crabs on top from escaping to the docks edge just a foot or two away

    This is the black community. If you don't "act black", and "think black", and believe "Black politics" you are gong to be called names and denigrated. Essentially held down by the crabs on the bottom

    Until the Black community gets over this, you will be nothing but second class citizens in your own country

    January 21, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Barber is obviously a black racist, who thinks being Dem, and being subversive to America, is the ONLY option for blacks.

    January 21, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Andulamb

    All politicians are ventriloquist dummies for their party.

    January 21, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. bilbfit

    The naacp is clearly the most racist organization on the planet.

    January 21, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Bobbyvv

    Always ok to be intolerant as long as you belong to the correct Party

    January 21, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Andulamb

    He's right - but only because ALL politicians are ventriloquist dummies for their party.

    January 21, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Chris

    Further proof that the black NAACP group has a racial agenda instead of an agenda that would be good for all men and women in America.

    January 21, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Matt

    Living in a vicious cycle of poverty is not the spirit of Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King either. It would be nice to see the NAACP promote academic excellence, education and means of seeking prosperity in minority communities instead of just blame and more government programs.

    January 21, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. sly

    With all the other Confederate Party candidates being indicted, I think this fella would make a good candidate for President.

    Palin-Scott in 2016! Has a nice ring to it.

    January 21, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. the_dude

    Tim Scott speaks plain English, is not on welfare, and doesn't wear saggin pants.

    the democr@ps hate him

    January 21, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Ol' Yeller

    Uh.... I'm a little lost here. Because a majority of blacks vote as a block and think a lot alike, that is a bad thing? A majority of southern whites do the same thing, but I don't see people crying on here about that. Evangelical Christians are in lockstep. I'm thinking if I were black, and there was some moron out there trying to undo the progress made for African American folks over the last several decades, I might not be too kind when referring to the guy either.
    According to some of you, if the Jewish people denounced a Jewish person, who was actively spewing Nazi propaganda then they are a bunch of idiots for not supporting the guy.
    Some of you people are straight up whacked and your racism is just blinding....

    January 21, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Reasonable Descent

    Let me say this of MY SENATOR, "He is a dummy for a Tea Party ventriloquist!" He is not holding the door for others.

    January 21, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Joe

    These comments by the NAACP and the other liberals who follow and support show who is the real racist,and anybody who don't agree with them they try pulling the race card and calling them puppets and racists . Democrats are the only ones trying to keep race an issue when it really is not.

    January 21, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Jessica McGwin

    You do not even what to know what I have been called. Stick's and stones. Get a thick skin and move on.

    January 21, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Bytemeagain

    Tim Scott is a dummy for the T-baggers. I'm sure he knows what Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz taste like.

    January 21, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. kzooresident

    Look at all the progressive bigots & racists ranting-away here. Kinda like swarms of rats turning on each other as the fuel for their hatred of others runs dry.

    January 21, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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