Oprah’s Hiring Practices
I ran across an old article about Oprah Winfrey and her altruism. Back in January Oprah made headlines for starting a school in South Africa for black girls. She gave away forty million dollars of her own money to start the school. I still don’t understand why Ms. Winfrey had to go halfway around the world to find some qualified black people that needed help. I remember Ms. Winfrey talking about how she had tried to help black families here in America get a quality education. But the handpicked families Oprah selected herself to help didn’t have the desire to learn or appreciated an education. It appears Ms. Winfrey made a half-ass attempt and now she’s fresh out of ideas for helping black people here in America. Changing the criteria for handpicking black people to help isn’t an option. So naturally it makes sense to abandon us and go spend forty million on girls in South Africa.
Somebody made a contributing comment to the article saying it is Ms. Winfrey’s money and she’s entitled to do what she wants with it. That was their opinion and they are more than entitled to it as well. But with great privilege comes great responsibility. And Oprah has a lot of privilege. I remember a few years back Tiger Woods giving the same type of argument when he was asked for his opinion about one of those major golf tournaments being held at a club in Augusta, Georgia. The club however was infamous for being like one of only two major clubs that actually continued to exclude women from being members. When asked for his assessment of the situation Tiger boldly waffled and said something like, well you know they have a right to do what they want with their property and I think that should be respected. In other words that be a tiger motto that Accenture is making famous with Mr. Woods should be more like be a rollover for the status quo pussy cat. Tiger has a lot of privilege and exercises very little leadership.
No one ever said Ms. Winfrey wasn’t entitled to do what she wants with her funds. That is not even close to being the point. The issue is that Ms. Winfrey does her best to distance herself from the average black people right here in her own backyard. Ms. Winfrey is on record as saying it is too difficult to find good black people here in America who can truly appreciate someone helping them obtain an education. According to Ms. Winfrey the African American has all they need to get an education. The supplemental educational assistance she gives our black American children isn’t enough to make a difference. According to Oprah, all black people want to do is skate and get by and she refuses to continue to be the black community’s patsy. Interesting concept for sure. But if forty million dollars couldn’t do much of a difference here maybe Ms. Winfrey should hire someone else to handpick the black people she helps.
It should be no surprise that I don’t care for Ms. Winfrey. Her public dislike for the black community grates on my nerves like fingers across a chalkboard. She makes disparaging remarks about the black community, black issues, and black people. And black people love her and many in the black community and the white community use her as an upstanding example of black potential. But if this is the potential of black achievement then we are in serious trouble. If Ms. Winfrey is the role model for black success then successful black people would turn their back on their black community just when we need them most.
If an American conglomerate made an announcement about how they tried to help some handpicked black people get a quality education but they couldn’t find anyone among them who actually appreciated the help so they decided to help black people in South Africa I would expect the black community to rip into that company like a pit bull into a bucket of fried chicken. If a white talk show host said black people don’t do enough to get their own education so they were going to help the people on the other side of the world I would imagine a lot of people would be offended. Oprah does the same thing and I’m not about to pull a Tiger Woods and simply hunch my shoulders, and say oh gee there’s nothing I can do or say because people are entitled to do what they want with their property.
The black community can be incredibly sensitive to the insensitivity of people in the white community. But we can be downright dense when it comes to our own African brothers and sisters giving us the middle finger. Oprah gives the black community the cold shoulder as part of her daily routine. This is the same woman who brags that with the exception of her friend Gayle King she only hires white people. She’ll try to justify it by saying her grandmother wanted her to make sure she worked for good white people. Well grandma can put her soul to rest because Oprah now has a company chock full of white people working for her. In fact there are a bunch of white grandmas that can rest assured that Oprah is putting their grandkids to work and paying them handsomely in the process. I guess black grandmas can kiss Oprah’s black ass.
The black community has been accused of being hypocritical. We’ll come down hard on a white person doing us wrong but we will tolerate the same behavior from black people. We’ll hang a white racist that works hard to subjugate black people. But we won’t say peep about a black person with the same bigoted views on the black community. We won’t tolerate a construction company that would dare do a project without the minimum number of jobs held out for black workers. But for some reason the black community not only tolerates Oprah keeping black people out of her media empire, we worship her for it. And I’m sorry, opening a forty million dollar school for black girls on the other side of the world does little to help African Americans in Oprah’s backyard.