Some believe racism ended with Obama's election — this Trump staffer thinks he started it

Source: AP
Source: AP

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, some wondered if the event marked the definitive end of racism in the United States. But if it seems ridiculous to assume a black president alone is capable of stopping systematic inequality, it'd probably be just as ridiculous to accuse him of starting it — right?

Kathy Miller — who chaired the Donald Trump campaign in Mahoning County, Ohio — told the Guardian otherwise. 

"I don't think there was any racism until Obama got elected," she said. "We never had problems like this. ... Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that's a big change, and I think that's the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America."

Miller, a white woman, waxed nostalgic for the simpler times of the 1960s — you know, when black and white people were "separate but equal" and the Ku Klux Klan routinely murdered black men and women. 

"Growing up as a kid, there was no racism, believe me," she told the Guardian, adding she never "experienced" segregation or saw the civil rights movement as consequential. "We were just all kids going to school."

Miller called the Black Lives Matter movement a "waste of time" and said if black people haven't been successful in the United States, they only have themselves to blame. 

"You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn't have," Miller told the Guardian. "You had all the advantages and didn't take advantage of it. It's not our fault, certainly."

The remarks prompted a wave of criticism and late Thursday morning, Trump's Ohio campaign sent out an email announcing Miller's resignation.

"My personal comments were inappropriate, and I apologize," Miller said in the statement. "I am not a spokesperson for the campaign and was not speaking on its behalf."

Trump has made it clear he doesn't think things have ever been worse for black people in America, asking them in August what they "have to lose" by electing him. In his most recent plea for the black vote, the Republican nominee said, "Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worse shape they've ever been in before," he said, the Los Angeles Times reported. "Ever, ever, ever."

Obama pointed out recently that Trump seems to be suffering from some selective amnesia.

"You may have heard Hillary [Clinton]'s opponent in this election say that there's never been a worse time to be a black person," Obama said in an address to the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday, according to CNN

"I mean, he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery or Jim Crow," he continued. "We will educate him."

Count Miller in too.

Sept. 22, 2016, 2:05 p.m.: This story has been updated

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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