View original post

When Sen. Tim Scott gave a rebuttal following President Joe Biden's first address to Congress Wednesday night, the South Carolina senator defended the country's record on race.

“Hear me clearly,” Scott said. “America is not a racist country.”

The sole Black Republican in the chamber used his rebuttal to say that Democrats ignore the country's racial progress over the past century for political and financial gain.

“Just before COVID, we had the most inclusive economy in my lifetime,” he said.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) boards an elevator to Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

‘America is not a racist country':Tim Scott says in Republican rebuttal to Biden's speech

12 CHARTS:How racial disparities persist across wealth, health, education and beyond

On Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black person and first Indian American in the role, disagreed with some – but not all – of Scott's statements.

“First of all, no, I don't think America is a racist country, but we also do have to speak the truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today,” Harris said.

Statistics and facts compiled in a number of sectors over a number of years show inequality pervades U.S. society.

Life expectancy for Black, Latino populations declines most 

Data through June 2020 shows life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population dropped to 77.8 years, the lowest since 2006, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Life expectancy for Black populations declined the most from 2019 – by 2.7 years, to 72 years – its lowest level since 2001. Latinos experienced the second-biggest decline, falling 1.9 years since 2019 to a life expectancy of 79.9 years, lower than when it was first recorded in 2006. 

The disparities highlighted in the study add to the mounting evidence of COVID-19's disproportional effect on Black and Latino communities, health experts say.

The U.S. lost a whole year of life expectancy:For Black people, it's nearly 3 times worse

The graduation gap

Disparities at all levels of education exist. 

The racial wealth gap

Although more white Americans live in poverty by total numbers (17 million vs. 9 million Black people), in terms of percentages, Black Americans are almost twice as likely to live below the poverty line as white Americans. They also have lower household incomes and lower rates of home ownership.

More:Black homeowners are more than twice as likely to have to return to renting 

Figures show racial disparities in criminal justice 

Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men, according to a study from the University of Michigan, Rutgers University and Washington University. Bias has also been documented in plea bargains and sentencing. After decades of rising incarceration rates that followed the “get tough on crime’’ mandate of the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, the problem of mass incarceration is slowly declining, according to Pew Research data.

USA TODAY's Phillip M. Bailey, Adrianna RodriguezMabinty Quarshie, N'dea Yancey-Bragg, Anne Godlasky, Jim Sergent and Veronica Bravo contributed to this report.