Oprah Winfrey has claimed that racism will only be eliminated once older people who have been 'marinated' in discrimination die.
According to the talk show queen, older generations learned their behavioural patterns from their ignorant, fearful descendants and they must pass on before the world can change.
In a candid interview with the BBC to coincide with the release of her latest film The Butler, Winfrey said: "There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die."
The 59-year-old added that although President Obama had made it to the white house, there was 'no question' he still suffered racism because of the colour of his skin.
Winfrey, who campaigned for Obama in the 2008 election, recalled a particular incident in 2009 when Republican congressman Joe Wilson called out "you lie" as Obama gave a speech to Congress.
"Probably it's crossed my mind more times than it's crossed your mind," she said.
"I think that there is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he is African-American. There's no question about that and it's the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody's thinking it."
Her comments sparked controversy, with some critics accusing her of 'playing the race card'.
The News Busters site, which is dedicated to 'exposing and neutralising liberal media bias', branded her as narrow-minded for focusing solely on racism against black people.
"It is patently absurd to suggest that racism is caused by old white people when racism and religious bigotry cut across all generations and ethnicities," it said.
Examiner.com, however, claimed Winfrey's assertion was 'absolutely current' and hoped that education would change the views of the younger generation.
The news site claimed that "with racial and ethnic education and an increased emphasis on tolerance and tolerant behaviour toward those who are different, there might one day come a time when racism as a sociological phenomenon will come close to extinction."