President Joe Biden of the United States has been pressuring the Congress to pass the new Criminal Justice Bill, and push for police reform, before the 25th of May, 2021- the anniversary of George Floyd’s death- in his first State of The Union address.
In response, Senator Tim Scott, a Black Republican, remarked, “America is not a racist country.” This remark resulted in outrage on social media, and led to the #UncleTim tag reaching the #10 spot on ‘trending’ in twitter.
‘Uncle Tim’ is a play on the phrase ‘Uncle Tom’, the protagonist of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an abolitionist novel written by Harriot Beecher Stowe in 1852. Uncle Tom is often used as a derogatory term to refer to those who ‘betray’ their culture by supporting the opposition or by being complicit with oppression. Typically, it is used to refer to a Black person who is subservient to white people.
Twitter allowed the attacks on Senator Tim to run for almost 12 hours, before it stopped the tag from showing up on the website. Many have criticised him for his comments, which have been called ‘inherently contradictory’, due to the fact that he earlier mentioned the discrimination and racism he faced. However, others have praised the Senator. Fox News anchor Martha McCallum praised him for resonating with the people and for his sincerity, while fellow Republicans too have applauded him for being a representative of the conservative viewpoint in the country.