While everyone was freaking out over Donald Trump’s abortion comments Wednesday night, Ohio Governor and allegedly “nice” Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was busy making one of the most offensive, racially hostile comments of this entire campaign. During his MSNBC town hall last night, Chuck Todd pressed Kasich on his efforts within the black community, asking why, despite his efforts, “the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Ohio the sixth worst state to raise a black child in, median income, a $20,000 gap between blacks and whites in Ohio. Cleveland is considered one of the ten most segregated cities in the country.”
Kasich simply told Todd he didn’t believe the statistics, then decided all on his own to bring up infant mortality. Just so you understand, these aren’t code words Kasich was using, he and Todd were already talking about black people specifically when Kasich decided that his infant mortality program is working just fine on white people, so the problem must be that black people are bad at “partnership,” whatever that means:
So I don’t know about all that study. I will tell you this. The issue of infant mortality is a tough one. We have taken that on and one of the toughest areas to take on is in the minority community. And the community itself is going to have to have a better partnership with all of us to begin to solve that problem with infant mortality in the minority community, because we’re making gains in the majority community. We don’t ignore any of this, Chuck. These are serious issues and they need to be addressed and I don’t put my head in the sand and if I got to get people upset doing it, that’s life.
I hesitate to even address the substance of what Kasich said because I don’t want to distract from the self-evident racism of it. He’s saying that because he started a program and it’s working on white people, that must mean that it’s black people’s fault that infant mortality disparities persist. The “gains in the majority community” are the proof he presents of this, never considering the million other more likely reasons, including those factors that created the disparity in the first place.
But maybe, since the overwhelming majority of infant deaths were due to “prematurity and congenital anomalies,” it didn’t help the “minority community” that Kasich not only defunded Planned Parenthood, but specifically cut the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program, the largest infant mortality prevention program in the state. That’s not being a good partner.
The truly stunning, yet entirely unsurprising, part of this is that nobody even flinched when he said it; the media is so accustomed to this kind of naked hostility from Republicans that Chuck Todd even felt compelled to praise Kasich, within his question, for bothering to reach out to African Americans at all.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.