From the New York Times news section:
As candidates like Tim Scott and Nikki Haley bolster their biographies with stories of discrimination, they have often denied the existence of systemic racism in America while describing situations that sound just like it.
By Jonathan Weisman and Trip Gabriel
Jonathan Weisman reported from Charleston, S.C., West Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago. Trip Gabriel reported from West Des Moines and Marion, Iowa.
June 1, 2023
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina opened his presidential candidacy with a story of the nation’s bitter, racist past. It is one that he tells often, of a grandfather forced from school in the third grade to pick cotton in the Jim Crow South.
… But in bolstering their own bootstrap biographies with stories of discrimination, they have put forth views about race that at times appear at odds with their view of the country—often denying the existence of a system of racism in America while describing situations that sound just like it.
… Yet behind the debate over structural racism—a codified program of segregation and subjugation that suppressed minority achievement long ago and, many scholars say, has left people of color still struggling—is a secondary debate over the meaning of the stories politicians tell about themselves.
...Mr. [Larry] Elder, at an April gathering of evangelical Christians in West Des Moines, Iowa, spoke of his father, the Pullman porter who later became a cook in a segregated Marine Corps unit. When he returned from World War II, his father found he could not get a job in the whites-only restaurants of Chattanooga, Tenn., and struggled to find work in Los Angeles because he had no references from Tennessee.
… “There was something called slavery, the K.K.K., Jim Crow— that was codified,” Mr. Elder said in an interview. “Of course there was systemic racism.”
No, he replied, recalling the election and re-election of a Black president, Barack Obama.
In the early years of the Obama presidency, talk of a post-racial society—where the color of one’s skin has no bearing on stature or success—was common. But later, an upsurge of white supremacist violence, including the massacre of Black parishioners at a Charleston church in 2015 during Mr. Obama’s second term, along with the murder of George Floyd in 2020, shattered that idealized post-racial notion for many people of color from all political persuasions.