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Oprah Magazine’s White Guilt Special
The most successful black entrepreneur of the age wants you to know how terrible life has been in racist America. So Oprah Winfrey is using the pages of the September issue of O to drive home the Black Lives Matter message: you are racist and you just can’t help yourself. You were raised in white privilege, and even if you feel bad about the racial injustice that sustains you, there is a price to pay. Get ready to be re-educated, right here in this nice lifestyle magazine you may have enjoyed reading for two decades.
For the first time in its 20-year history, the cover does not present an idealized photograph of a beaming, smartly attired Oprah. Instead it features a digital rendering of Breonna Taylor, the young woman shot to death in a police drug raid on her home in Louisville. The raid appears to be an egregious police blunder and is still being investigated. It’s a great tragedy, and Oprah’s signed editorial is a heartfelt lament.
But, setting aside the facts of the case, it is also a convenient cudgel to smite any white readers in swinging distance. Almost every page of this issue conveys a most un-Oprah-like grievance, even barely contained rage. It’s embedded in the story selection, of course, with features like “Hard White Truths,” (We asked white readers about the moments when they’ve been mostly acutely aware of their privilege, and what they’re doing about it). Or Ask Dr. Joy, in which a psychologist “offers advice to Black women beset by needy white friends.”
Yet even the usual lifestyle filler — “Beauty O-wards; it’s time to celebrate the best of the best in makeup, skincare and haircare with our top picks for feeling gorgeous from head to toe” — offers no haven from the scolding. Every editorial page bears a footnote-like banner urging some act of contrition or self-flagellation. A few of the many:
HIRE more Black people and people of color, especially into management, if you’re in a position to do so.
DINE at Black-owned restaurants. People of color are two to three times more likely to be denied business loans, and Black restaurant workers tend to be the lowest paid in the industry.
THWART the racist cash-bail system by contributing to a local bail fund.
TAKE a knee the next time you’re at a sporting event.
READ the 1619 Project . . . a masterful examination of American slavery and its legacy.
ACCEPT the hard truth — if you’re a white American, you’ve benefited from a racist system.
The hard truth is that an accomplished, much-loved television personality, who overcame a life of childhood adversity through her own hard work and talents, is insulting the very country that gave her a path to stupendous success. Over the years on television, Oprah has no doubt inspired many people with her example. Now she chooses to spread white guilt among her loyal audience.
Who can know, in this time of contraction in magazine publishing, if O will survive this departure into identity politics and grievance-mongering. No matter. Oprah has greater “woke” ambitions for her empire. Word is that her production company is hard at work translating the 1619 Project into a movie or perhaps a TV series. The browbeating has just begun.Published in General
It’s alarming that two popular icons of cheerfulness and hope — Ellen and Oprah — will not be lightening moods in the coming months. It’s another factor in 2020’s perfect storm.
I just don’t care anymore.
I had a horrible thought. Oprah could be Biden’s pick for VP. She is a creature of Chicago and friend of the Obamas, as I recall. Millions of Republican women would vote for her. Her appeal is national. I think she could win, if enough Democrats could stomach the insult of a senile Biden leading the ticket.
If I hear one more wealthy and successful black woman tell me how I benefit from white privilege, I’m going to burn her multi-million-dollar house down.
There are a number of possibilities. Do you travel?
No! I’m not privileged enough!
Is Ricochet the only place where nonsense like this is called out for what it is–racist.
I look at a lot of stuff on the net and don’t remember a single extended takedown of the whole “white privilege” thing. Whenever I hear it, I think about hand washing pots and pans in a restaurant under a black chef and a black line cook to help pay for college.
It rings pretty hollow to see multimillionaire pro athletes, movie stars, pop music stars, and TV stars like Oprah jumping onto this bandwagon. This country has been pretty damn good to them. Each of them gives the lie to the sham proposal that this country has “systemic racism.” No it doesn’t.
It also exhibits a myopic (i.e., uninformed) view of what’s going on in parts of the country, as anyone who spent 10 minutes with Charles Murray’s Coming Apart or J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy would know. I’m old enough to remember when racism was essentially defined by generalizations and stereotypes such as this about a particular race.
That’s it! I am canceling my sub. . . Oprah has a magazine?
Can I assume it is mostly overly privileged white women who buy this stuff?
Oprah is at heart a self-promoting businessman. It’s hard to believe she would be doing something this silly if she didn’t think there was an angle in it for her. That is sad. (About us, not about her.) And kind of a scary indicator about the future, because she’s pretty smart about these things.
(Oh, and I mean “businessman” in the sense of “a person who conducts business”, not a male who does. This can get needlessly confusing for people who don’t remember that “man” is a word that means “human”. It also is used these days in English to denote a male. Words sometimes mean more than one thing. The male was “were” in the old tongue. Should we switch back to Businesswere? Businesswife?
Nah. Germans differentiate this situation with Man and Frau, and Mann (or Mensch?). Maybe we should adopt this reasonable practice. Sorry, back to OP….)
Poor Oprah. There aren’t enough crocodiles in the Nile to provide enough tears for how I feel right now . . . how she struggled against all the whiteness keeping her held back, how she overcame real problems – but felt compelled to make up even more to burnish credentials that didn’t need burnishing, how in spite of her success, white men and women across America loathed and envied her rise to stardom . . .
Gimme a freakin’ break . . .
Cap, I like the post. I disagree with the following.
I do agree about the tragedy part. I don’t agree about the egregious blunder part, unless additional facts have emerged. The police were executing a legitimate warrant, and as I understand it, Taylor’s residence was targeted because of evidence that her ex-boyfriend (apparently a drug dealer) used it to receive deliveries. Taylor’s boyfriend shot a cop, they returned fire, and Taylor was tragically caught in the cross-fire.
This is a tragedy, but not an obvious blunder.
The libertarian in me says this was not a blunder, but a procedural problem. Late night, no/speed-knock warrants are very dangerous. Lots of bad things can happen, when cops kick a door in the middle of the night. Law abiding citizens might consider a home invasion and properly defend themselves. If the cops execute the warrant, when Breonna is getting home from work, then nobody gets hurt. Blaming the individual cops (blunder) means the procedure problem does not get fixed. Remember, the police theory is that the ex-boyfriend was getting drugs via Amazon at her address and she was keeping them for him. That’s how my kids by Ramen noodles, not how drug dealers work.
There’s a good chance any white girlfriend holding drugs for a wanted dealer would have been shot in the same situation. Not everything is about race, and it isn’t helpful when they pounce on everything to make it about that. But then, they know that.
Remember when Oprah whined about how she was “profiled” on a visit to a jewelry store in Paris.
Yeah, that was a horrible situation that the police went out of their way to create. But was it racist? Was there a racial aspect to the George Floyd death? Not every bad thing that happens to a minority is caused by racism.
So poor white people suck at using white privilege.
It’s the same mentality we find in the covid death tallying. If you were hit by a bus and happen to have been infected, the virus is listed as the cause of death. If something happens to you and you happen to be black, it was because of racism.
Oh it’s out there. Matt Tabibi – the very liberal editor of the very liberal Rolling Stone – put out a lengthy rant last month that called out this nonsense for what it is. He called it “Hitlerian Race Theory” in the midst of a profanity laden tirade against the book White Fragility.
Woman worth $2.6 BILLION is feeling oppressed? I should be that oppressed.
I’ve heard of that but not read it. But I will now.
I’m looking for volume and prominence as well.
I guess she’s finally given up on the diet tips, huh?
The egregious blunder is that no-knock raids exist. Part of the stupid (and in a just world, unconstitutional) end of the drug wars.
Purse store in Switzerland.
Or was that another horrible racist event?
I guess she felt the need to step to the front of the line of all those millionaire oppressed athletes ….
Steal the book. Don’t give that white lady any more money.
Oh, I may have misremembered.