We were told that race wouldn’t be a factor in the 2008 election—that Senator Obama was a different sort of Presidential candidate who transcended race, and whose policies didn’t matter, because he was a uniter. Somehow, using the best intentions chimerical utopianism could provide would work on all fronts.
It turns out that those of us who bought into that were wrong. Race indeed, determined the election, and it’s now determining policy. Worse, still, some are trying to bully the rest of us into believing that an opposition to President Obama’s policy constitutes racism.
It’s a preposterous proposition, of course, but, as the days go by, and more and more folks, from Sharpton to Holder posit it, more folks will come to believe it.
That’s what the administration is counting on, in any event. And, at the risk of sounding conspiratorial, the administration has Oprah on its side. She has made headlines lately because of a trip to Switzerland during which she walked into a store and asked to see a purse worth thirty eight-thousand dollars. The clerk, she reports, wouldn’t show her the purse because of the color of her skin.
Oprah and the clerk have both apologized, but the damage, on both sides, is done. The clerk was a snob apparently, and Oprah, obviously was black. The question is, does Oprah’s desire to tell the world about her recollection of what happened do anything to advance her standing as a role model?
Assuming that the account of the story is correct (and both Oprah and the clerk have issued apologies, so such an assumption is reasonable,) what has been gained? Some say that Oprah’s experience proves that racism still exists.
I say that Oprah would have helped race relations by keeping the story to herself. She can be denigrated by those who still live in the 1860’s, but no one can rob her of her success—and it’s come through diligence, hard work, and persistence. Why, then, would she want to tell a story that discourages young African-American women who want to succeed?
The answer lies in the words that she spoke in 2008, when Obama was first elected. “Take all your energy, and put it in Barack Obama,” she said on Larry King. And she did. It probably didn’t make a difference in his election, but she believed in him, as surely that she complains to Americans that one clerk in Switzerland proves that the planet is still racist.
Racism still exists, of course—especially if one has enough money to travel to Switzerland to experience it.
By: Will Anderspm