Back in the presidential race for 2000 George Bush was trailing Al Gore by ten points. Then on September 19, 2000, Mr. Bush made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s television show. Mr. Bush talked about how he quit drinking and how he has a love of family and for his daughters. He talked about everything that the viewers of Oprah love. He sold himself. After the show aired, and without Ms. Winfrey actually endorsing his campaign, managed to revive his languishing bid for the presidency.
Seven years later Ms. Winfrey comes out of her luxury box swinging her considerable bat of notoriety on behalf of Barack Obama. This time, Ms. Winfrey makes her first ever endorsement of a presidential candidate. Ms. Winfrey is limited by how much money she could actually give to support the Obama for President campaign. As Ms. Winfrey says, her greatest value to Mr. Obama is in her backing. Said Ms. Winfrey on Larry King Live, “My support of him is probably worth more than any check that I could write.”
So Ms. Winfrey opens her palatial, fifty million dollar, forty two acres estate in Montecito, California outside of Santa Barbara called “The Promise Land” to host a three million dollar fund raiser for her guest of honor. Fifteen hundred guest paid twenty three hundred dollars apiece to attend the high glamour affair. Oprah’s “hallowed grounds” hosted some pretty heavy hitters such as Forest Whitaker, Ellen Pompeo, Chris Rock, Cindy Crawford, Ernie Banks, Bill Russell, Stevie Wonder, Tyler Perry, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, and Sidney Portier. A virtual who’s who among black entertainers. And some white people are getting nervous.
Is Oprah being racist? This was a question being asked on a right winged, conservative website. The idea that a black woman endorsing a black candidate is just too coincidental to be anything but some nefarious African American scheme years in the planning. Never mind the fact that a lot of white people are endorsing a lot of white candidates. It is totally farfetched to think that they might be racist.
Another conservative website points out Mr. Obama being on record as fully opposed to the repeal of Roe VS. Wade and his open endorsement of gay marriage. By supporting Mr. Obama Ms. Winfrey supports a liberal stand on these issues as well and is attacking her for trying to use her influence to “sway over two hundred years of American faith in the sanctity of life and a reasonable national morality.” Conservatives may not be able to get everyone to embrace the family values of the party with members like Congressman Mark Foley, Senator David Vitters, Senator Larry “Is this stall occupied?” Craig, and Bob Allan. But they are not going to give up their position without a serious fight.
Oprah has been nothing but accommodating to white people. Her show is used as a forum for issues that impact the white community. Even when she does shows about racial issues it is usually from a white perspective with a very condemning tone against whatever elements may represent the black community.
Anyone who is a regular to this blog knows that I am no fan of Ms. Winfrey. I condemned the town hall meeting she had that focused on the hypocrisy of the black community working to get a famous white radio talk show host fired for using a racial slur that gangsta rappers constantly invoke in their music. I condemned the fact that Ms. Winfrey goes half way around the world to open forty million dollar schools for black girls in South Africa when so many blacks can use that kind of help right here in her backyard. I condemned the fact that she brags about her media empire hiring so many white people when so many black people need jobs. Ms. Winfrey and I aren’t the best of friends.
But now some white people are jumping on Ms. Winfrey’s case and accusing her of being a racist because she doesn’t want to open her show up to anyone but Mr. Obama. White people who have never said peep about Ms. Winfrey in the past now want to try and yank her chain because they don’t like the fact that she’s actually supporting a black man and she has considerable public muscle to help make a black President a reality. Ms. Winfrey has never been attacked by the establishment before. I seriously wonder how well she’ll weather the storm.
A lot of white people actually enjoy Ms. Winfrey and her show. Ms. Winfrey has never given them any reason to ever doubt her commitment to the established white dominated corporate mindset. But now Ms. Winfrey is actually doing something that could actually windup benefiting the black community and smashing a lot of long standing racist stereotypes in the process. I’m sure they’ll be torn as to whether to continue to watch and support the world’s most favorite talk show host.
Regardless, white people need to relax. The white privilege associated with corporate America isn’t about to go away because two black juggernauts are joining forces. It’s not like Oprah and Barack Obama are undercover Black Panther Party members. As the Senator from Illinois Mr. Obama has worked for the benefit of all his constituents. And Oprah’s history of catering to white people’s whims should have been without reproach. Neither one really embraces any of the issues that are sensitive to the black community from the black perspective.
But white people’s fear of the black skin won’t tolerate such a formidable threat as Obama and Oprah. The establishment has already attacked Obama from every angle. Once his supposed naiveté was exposed when he admitted that he is open to the idea of America participating in a dialog with countries like Cuba and other countries that aren’t kissing America’s ass people were quick to jump on the Obama’s not qualified band wagon. The idea of someone willing talking to someone we have been programmed to dislike is just too preposterous a concept to be valued as a political virtue.
Mr. Obama has been attacked for attending a black church. Black churches that actively advocate for the issues of black people from a black perspective is just too racist a concept for some people. What if a white church billed itself as advocating for white issues from totally white perspectives? Here’s a news flash, there are churches that have totally white congregations or congregations with black people who are willing and ready to submit and embrace white mindsets are all across America. They don’t have to advertise their position. It is understood.
Ms. Winfrey is a considerable force in the media business. Her show has been estimated to have more than eight million viewers on a daily basis. Her website gets over two million unique visitors every month. Her monthly magazine O has two million subscribers. Her weekly newsletter has over four hundred thousand subscribers. The vast majority of these people hang on Oprah’s every word. Such a following couldn’t exist if Ms. Winfrey wasn’t careful to avoid even the slightest perception of being sensitive to the black community.
But there is that irrational white fear of black people being above white privilege I hope Ms. Winfrey’s past is as squeaky clean as she fronts it to be. Now that she has endorsed Barack Obama someone with investigative capabilities that the CIA would envy is combing through her past looking for her weaknesses.
I have never been a fan of Ms. Winfrey and I seriously doubt if I will ever be one. Ms. Winfrey is no fan of the black community. But to see people now call Oprah Winfrey a racist because she is supporting Barack Obama is little more than a stereotypical attack against another person of color. I don’t care how uppity or successful a black person gets, some people can’t get over the fact that it is a black person. That is a lesson courtesy of Fuzzy Zoeller and his thinly veiled racial slur against Tiger Woods that black people would do well to remember. Essentially Mr. Zoeller said, “Listen here boy, you may have just won the Master’s Tournament, but you are still black.”
Bottom line is that Oprah isn’t one of them. Despite everything she has done for white people up to and including helping George Bush obtain the presidency she’s still a black woman. Whether she wants to admit it or not, whether anyone else wants to admit it or not, Ms. Winfrey is a member of the black community. And every white person knows that it’s only a matter of time before a black people does something bold to help the other members of the black community. Some white people are actually beginning to wonder if Oprah isn’t really as estranged from the black community as she may have been pretending to be all these years.