The Dangerous Stupidity of Oprah Winfrey

OWith all of Hollywood prepared to bow down to the First Lady of Daytime Talk for her role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Oprah is taking the opportunity to push forward her favorite narrative: America remains a deeply racist place. In an interview with The Grio, Oprah, who plays a butler’s wife in the White House in The Butler, says that Trayvon Martin, the black teenager shot by George Zimmerman, is just like 1955 murder victim Emmitt Till: “Let me just tell you, in my mind, same thing. But you can [get] stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.” She said in another interview that the “shooting of Trayvon Martin” was an example of racism.

Well, how far have we come? Oprah says, “do we live in a land where Martin Luther King’s dream has been ultimately fulfilled? No….Are more people judged by the content of their character than by the color of their skin? Yes. Is everybody judged by the content of their character? Absolutely not.”

Ignorance plays a part in Oprah’s view of racism the United States. According to Oprah, in an interview with Parade Magazine, Americans don’t know “diddly-squat” about the racial history of the United States. She then added, “I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree.” According to the Tuskegee Institute, 3,446 black Americans were lynched from 1882-1968. With a skewed numerical perspective like that, it’s no wonder Oprah likely thinks that racist killings remain plentiful across the fruited plain.

In the joint interview she did with director Lee Daniels and actor Forest Whitaker, Daniels too held onto the idea of endemic racism: “I showed the film to my relatives…because I figured they’re the harshest of audiences. And my 30-year-old nephew said to me, ‘Did some of this stuff really happen?’ And I was very upset by that.” Ignorance of history is certainly upsetting, especially sensitive racial history. But doesn’t it say something about the United States when a 30-year-old black man can’t conceive of the racism of the 1950s? Shouldn’t  her nephew’s response say to Daniels, Whitaker, and Oprah that the United States has changed, thanks in large measure to the heroism of those who took part in the civil rights movement?

Instead, however, Oprah, Daniels and Whitaker continue to act as though the racial incidents portrayed in The Butler still lurk the corner in the United States. Whitaker said about Trayvon Martin, “If you can’t accept that these things are going on, you’re living an illusion.” Daniels said, “It’s a given. I can’t even get a taxi [in New York]. I send my [white] assistant out to get a taxi because I can’t.” And Oprah, who said that Daniels pitched her on the film while she was at her enormous property in Maui – in the most expensive area of the island, no less – added that “America” needs to see The Butler, presumably to remind the country of its racial bigotry.

The legacy of Oprah Winfrey could be an incredible one. She could stand up for the true dream of Martin Luther King Jr. Instead, she has chosen to continue to press forward a wildly exaggerated  narrative of racism, because that’s the liberal line. And so even as she says you “cannot be my friend and use [the n-word] around me,” she told Jay-Z that she understood his use of the n-word in his lyrics: “I’m proud to say, I get it now.” Just like she “gets” Trayvon Martin.

So long as communicators like Oprah continue to focus their ire on white racism – an evil but rare phenomenon that no longer lists as a  top ten problem for the black community in America – they will win Oscars. The moment Oprah starts telling the truth about race relations in America, she  won’t win awards but might begin to make a positive difference.

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  • Campbell Dustin

    An ignorant white guy wrote this article, it’s apparent in the “get over racism” rhetoric, and the “it wasn’t as bad as you guys said it was” phrasing. SMH Let’s talk about the misinterpreted Tuskegee reference to lynchings. The 3,446 black Americans lynched only accounted for those reported, not for every single black lynched in America, since 1882. The records kept by the Tuskegee Institute were of poor quality, so the number is not close to an actual representation of the magnitude of hate crimes against blacks. Let’s also not forget the unethical and inhumane medical experimentation of blacks, going well into the 1980s.

    Several crimes have not been documented, although many have been reported to suggest the type of inhumane conditions blacks were forced to live under, and in some cases, still do.

    Next, to the selfish, whining, self-entitled American1969, it is important to note that there have always been wealthy token blacks, such as Oprah and Shawn Carter, who have been granted access to opportunities, while the remaining majority of blacks are still without access to basic necessities. The same applies to Obama, who in many cases is compared to Frederick Douglass, in terms of opportunity. Like Douglass, Obama has been treated with disrespect, and with less ability to make decisions, good or bad, than any president in American History. Why the Tea Party decided to make their debut in 2008, complaining about problems that have existed since Nixon, is very much proof of this.

    Lastly, it is important to note that just b/c black wealth exists, it does not negate nor dispute on any level the disproportion of affluence between blacks and whites. It has nothing to do with SAT scores, given that if it did, the highest demographic present at all universities would be Asian Americans, not whites. It’s obvious that whites are still gate-keeping opportunities of affluence and social advancement, and hoarding resources. None have any right to complain that some blacks know this, nor that blacks do not want any to forget the inhumane treatment of blacks and other underrepresented racial groups in this nation. If we are forced to remember the Holocaust, we will be forced to remember the Middle Passage. If we are forced to remember Pearl Harbor, we will be forced to remember the Tulsa “Black Wall Street” Massacre. If we are forced to remember 9/11, we must remember 9/15 (16 street Baptist Church Massacre).

    I do not apologize for seeing blacks as human beings, nor acknowledging the fact that blacks have suffered greatly in america, yet to be treated as fairly as their white counterparts. Blacks don’t want sympathy nor handouts, we want equal rights and justice, meaning a fair, untampered with opportunity at a quality education, quality health care, and quality occupation opportunity. Any whites that refuse to accept nor comprehend this are not only traitors to the Constitution of America, but are racists with no competence or ability to see past their own lives and experiences.

  • Campbell Dustin

    Change venues? Why would we help to cultivate a nation, and then leave it, just b/c one group of many refuses to equally share the fruits of labor? LOL Who said blacks are “not wanted”? White racists? The ones misbehaving? LOL This is my point. No one is fooled by your implied “go back to Africa” rhetoric, even if you attempt to fuse poor quality disguise, by claiming that you were only talking about “complainers” or more directly Oprah. We both know that Oprah is speaking up for blacks that have inherited poverty and various other forms of social oppression since the 19th century.

    It’s not hard to comprehend, all that is required is being forced into the same inhumane conditions each generation; poor quality education, high unemployment rate, inadequate to no access to resources, and unethical gerrymandering policies, to ensure little political restoration. Mix it all together, and you have several generations of poverty and social oppression. But, i’m sure by your “out-of-touch” logic, we can all just get over it together, and these people can forget out the inhumane conditions they live in, or the lack of Constitutional rights they are able to act on, and we can all enjoy America, at their expense. ; )

    • poptoy1949

      Trying to have a discussion with you is hopeless. You refuse any common ground. I will not respond again. Whitey seems to be the problem for everything from what I see. Good Luck with that. I wish you no ill will. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy new year. End of Discussion.

      • Campbell Dustin

        LOL Common ground? There is no compromise to equal rights, you either have them or you don’t. Given that blacks do not, then until we have them, no we will not just “let it go” and pretend we do, that is ridiculous, and you’re only suggesting this b/c you don’t really care about the well-being of anyone but yourself; this is the problem, not Oprah. You don’t give me orders, this is not your discussion page. You can leave anytime you like, but you will not tell me be giving me any orders, chief.

  • Campbell Dustin

    “Yes i live in the U.S. Born here in fact just like you an Oprah. I don’t bitch about who does not want me around…..”
    1.) Oprah nor do many blacks care about who likes them or not. Their goal is not to be popular, but to simply to not have their equal rights and justice infringed upon. I’m missing how that is difficult to comprehend.
    2.) You have little to get over, if you’re apart of the oppressor class, unlike those who are apart of the oppressed classes of people in America. Only an “out-of-touch”, uneducated person would deem it probable or reasonable to force the oppressed classes to get over their continuing struggle. Congrats, you just became apart of their problem.
    “I leave that nonsense alone and go about my business.”

    Well, we blacks are finally treated equally to whites, it’s pretty obvious that they will. But if you expect them to just shut up, b/c their demand for equality is preventing you from enjoying the fruits of THEIR labor, then you have more to learn about them. It’s not all about you, chief. Stop being self-centered, and realize what’s really going on here.

  • Rozina Hughes

    While there

  • kongi99 .

    I dont think Oprah and Jay-z really care about black folks in the US.
    Oprah as a black-queen with her 300 million salary could just straight up donate 1 million to every African-american. That is just 10th of her yearly salary!!

    Oh no, she rather cries about racism and blacks being poor.
    Do something! You have the power to change things!

    Even i donate (salary / %) more than them of my pennies.


  • Badari Pandarinath

    Black Americans talk about Slavery in America but don’t want to talk about Slavery in Africa. They praise the “mighty Pharaoh” while ignoring the fact that the Pharaoh was a slave master . Moses, as an ARCHETYPE, a precursor for modern Christianity/ Whites, left Africa BECAUSE OF SLAVERY AND RACISM. The children of Kemet -who became enslaved by the very Jews/ future Christians they enslaved themselves in Africa- now look at the dollar bill in America and see Pyramids. It’s all poetic in the end isn’t it. There’s a certain beauty in American Slavery. Well done, Jews. Well done.

  • Campbell Dustin

    I would rather all Americans have equal opportunities to a quality life, than have to remind white people that not everyone has that, due to their selfishness and lack of competence. You’re whining, i’m reporting the facts.

  • Campbell Dustin

    Ms. Walker died poor. And the government tried several times throughout her lifetime to unethically buy her company from her. Also, let’s not forget the accepts for blacks to establish their independent economic base (or Wall Street) in Kansas and Virginia…where BOTH attempts failed b/c the KKK rioted and destroyed the property. See it as the 9/11s for black people, thanks to the domestic terrorist of the KKK and Cointel Pro, who argued that black affluence would destroy American interests. Don’t give me that “by my own boot straps” bullshit, i’m far to versed in American history for that nonsense. Bottom line, inequality still exists, and unless you are doing something to eliminate it, then you’re bitching about me pointing out the facts does nothing but waste thread space.