South Carolina Democrats shot back after a Republican House member posted online that he planned to vote against a hate crimes bill because he believes that white people have been “vilified by the left.”
S.C. Rep. Victor Dabney, a freshman lawmaker from Kershaw County, posted about his plan to vote on Facebook Wednesday morning, hours before the House met to consider a number of bills including a hate crimes bill.
The bill, which passed the House Wednesday, would specifically allow prosecutors to seek additional penalties for crimes committed on the basis of hate because of a person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, national origin or physical or mental disability. Under the bill, for violent crimes like murder, assault, armed robbery or criminal sexual misconduct, the penalties could be increased by up to five years imprisonment and an additional fine up to $10,000.
Currently, South Carolina does not have its own hate crimes law. If a crime is committed on the basis of hate, state prosecutors can only prosecute the crime itself. However, federal officials could choose to step in and charge the offender under the federal hate crimes law.
Lawmakers ultimately voted 79-29 to pass the bill, with Dabney voting against it.
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In his post, Dabney said he would not “bow down to the ‘Left,’ ” and vote in favor of the bill.
“I am 63 years old and have spent my entire life watching our society give in to the liberals, and it’s never enough,” Dabney posted. “Our entire way of life has been vilified by the left; it’s our whiteness and our ‘straightness’ that keeps getting in the way.”
Dabney said he thinks white people are “constantly reminded that we are the problem because of our skin color.”
“We are the reason that blacks can’t seem to succeed in our society,” Dabney wrote. “We are the reason that black crime rates are ten times that of others. We are the reason that the black family unit has been destroyed and most young black children don’t have a father figure in the home. It’s all because of the light color of our skin, at least that is what I am told on a regular basis.”
Dabney’s words sparked backlash from Democrats across the state, with some calling his words racist.
S.C. Democratic Party Chairman called for Dabney to be removed from his committee assignments at the State House.
“This is the face and future of the Republican Party,” Robertson tweeted.
Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, said only those in places of privilege accuse others of “reverse racism.”
“Rep. Dabney hasn’t been targeted (because) of his race,” McLeod tweeted. “My sons & I have. My constituents have. Tragically, Sen. Pinckney & 8 of his parishioners have,” she said, referring to the nine African Americans who were killed at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church by a white supremacist gunman. The victims included a state senator.
“Race-based hate is real,” McLeod added.
McLeod and Robertson’s tweets received dozens of retweets.
DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison, who ran for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Lindsey Graham, called out Dabney on Twitter in a tweet that received more than 500 retweets and nearly 2,000 likes.
“This is a Republican member of the SC legislature. Read his words & feel his hate,” Harrison tweeted. “It is these type of folks drafting laws about voting & hate crimes.”
Dabney called the accusations of racism “ridiculous.”
“They don’t know me,” Dabney told The State in an interview.
Dabney said he made his post to point out that discussions of race often come up on the House floor. He said that House Democrats bring up race “within minutes,” when discussing controversial issues.
“It comes up nearly every day on the floor,” Dabney said. “It seems like that’s their go-to.”
“It should be something that you keep private and I keep private,” Dabney said.