Yesterday we were treated to the not-from-The Onion opinion of Kathy Miller, a rich white Trump supporter and the chair of the Mahoning County, Ohio, Trump campaign, who informed us that there was no racism in America until Barack Obama came along. After that bit of news went viral, she promptly resigned but insisted all along that what she was wasn’t racist.
Then we heard from Gov. Mike Pence, Mr. Trump’s running mate, who told us that we need to “set aside” all this talk about institutional racism in light of the recent police shootings and move on. At last word, Mr. Pence has not yet resigned his position with the campaign.
The takeaway from both of these arbiters of race relations in America is that we don’t have a race problem in this country and stop saying we do because it gets people upset.
But I have a question: which is worse? Ms. Miller who insists that everything was just peachy until that outside agitator came along, or the silencing of the discussion about race relations between African Americans and other minorities and the police departments in a number of cities because, in his words, it’s the “rhetoric of division.”
Ms. Miller and people like her can be dealt with — and she was — with universal scorn, derision, and the prompt termination of their services. Blatant racism like that doesn’t lend itself to nuance and there was no way anyone, even in the Trump organization, could polish that turd. So yes, she’s odious, but she’s obvious.
Mr. Pence, on the other hand, speaks calmly, soothingly, and wants to bring everyone together as long as they don’t talk about what’s really happening. I daresay that there will be some Very Serious Pundit sitting around a table on a cable chat show who will say, “Well, you know, he has a point.”
Actually, Mr. Pence’s racism is worse because it’s insidious. It sounds reasonable, not like some rant in a parking lot from a blithering bigot. But it takes any discussion of the problem off the table and leaves you with nothing other than nostrums about “thorough investigations” and “justice being served” as if in promising to actually follow the law is doing us all a generous favor. Mr. Pence himself is the shining example of institutional racism.