Meet Tim Scott, Senator from South Carolina:
In a few weeks, when the new Congress convenes, Mr. Scott, 47, will take his place as the first black senator from a former Confederate state since Reconstruction. This will make it exceedingly difficult for liberals to maintain their stereotype of the South as a land teeming with white racists. "If that were true," he says, "how could I have been elected to Congress in a district that is 70% white?" He adds: "I have campaigned all over the state of South Carolina. It is the friendliest state in the country. And truly here people judge you by the content of your character not the color of your skin."
Though he would clearly prefer to discuss substantive matters other than race—"I try to steer away from these issues," Mr. Scott says—he recognizes that he has been thrust into the spotlight as a groundbreaking black politician. With some prodding, he reluctantly addresses the subject.
He says that he is fully aware of the challenge that he presents to the GOP's traditional liberal critics. "I think one of the most threatening places to be in politics is a black conservative," Mr. Scott says, "because there are so many liberals who want to continue to reinforce a stereotype that doesn't exist about America." What stereotype is that? "That somehow, some way, if you're a Republican you're a racist and if you're black, there's no chance for you in society.
"We have serious challenges in this nation. Some are racial. But in my life, the vast majority of people that have really afforded me the opportunity to succeed were white folks. Is there a better way to say that?"
Click here to read more from the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore.