Sunday, August 14, 2022

Right Wingers Wrong on Oprah.

November 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( On paper, the Republican Party should absolutely adore Oprah Gail Winfrey. She’s very wealthy, very influential, and very famous. Normally, those three attributes would elevate almost anyone to most favored status within the Grand Ole Party. If that individual was already a Republican, he or she would be urged to assume their rightful place at the top of the Party as kingmaker/big-time donor. If that individual was not a Republican, no effort would be spared to bring him or her into the Party posthaste. And then came Oprah.

Oprah is cut from a different cloth – and therein lie the problems. First, Oprah is a proud Democrat; and has been for a long time. Second, she is as steadfast a friend and supporter to President Obama as you’ll find anywhere. Third, she’s one of the most recognized human beings on the planet. Fourth, her influence with Americans in general – and women in particular – is almost unparalleled. Which brings me to the most pivotal point: Oprah is Black, unafraid, and in possession of a limitless platform from which to share her views. It’s not wise to pick a fight with Oprah because you’re destined to lose. Unfortunately, two Republican stalwarts thought it wise to engage Ms. Winfrey on the issue of race earlier this week. I know, right? That’s like someone challenging to race UsainPremiere Precious LA Bolt in a 40 yard dash. In Jamaica. Televised on global television. Ready to get smoked?

Ms. Winfrey is the poster child for what used to be the American dream: if you work hard and do what’s right, you can succeed here in the US. Through hard work and the grace of God, a poor Southern girl eventually became talk show host extraordinaire, acclaimed actress, media mogul, billionaire (twice over), author, and the proud owner of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). She’s widely acknowledged as the wealthiest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in the history of this nation, and perhaps even the most influential woman on Earth. Is this really someone GOP spokespeople want to brand as racist?

Days ago, as she was being interviewed by BBC Reporter Will Gompertz, Ms. Winfrey was asked if she felt the President was being respected by his political enemies because of racism. “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African-American. There’s no question about that. And it’s the kind of thing no one ever says, but everybody’s thinking it.” Oprah stated that racism still exists in the world today. Is that false? Of course not. Oprah also said that things are getting better. Is that true? Most definitely. She ended the interview optimistically by sharing her view that each future generation will continue to move beyond racial prejudice. The President’s political enemies wasted little time counterattacking her. To them, denouncing racism makes you racist.

Rush Limbaugh, the official soundtrack of the GOP, said this on his radio show in response: “If that’s true, then how the hell did you become who you are? These people… I have to be really careful because Oprah is a goddess to a lot of people; but my goodness. These people are not nearly as smart as they think they are, and they don’t know nearly what they think they know.” So you’re calling Ms. Winfrey ignorant now, Mr. Limbaugh? Hardly surprising. However, Rushbo was not alone in his outrage over Oprah’s comments. Mark Levin, another prominent, nationally syndicated Republican radio show host also weighed in: “Oprah Winfrey has no idea what it’s like to live in a country that really is brutally racist… I’m not talking about older people who lived through segregation and those other horrible events, because obviously they do.” Excuse me? Is Mr. Levin aware that Ms. Winfrey was born and raised in rural Mississippi during the 1950’s and 1960’s? Does he know that Oprah was there when the Klan was killing Freedom Riders and terrorizing Black people simply because they were Black?

There are a few groups uniquely qualified to weigh in on the state of racial affairs in the US: Native Americans, African-Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino Americans. Members of these minorities have suffered the effects of racism for decades and centuries. They have lived the facts. Anyone excluded from those groups is probably looking through the prism of opinion.

In slang vernacular, being “owned” means losing a debate while being embarrassed in the process. It may be inadvertent, but Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Levin routinely prove the validity of Oprah’s comments. Oprah is many things, but she isn’t a sellout. Gentlemen, your arms are too short to box with Oprah on the issue of what it’s like to be Black in America. You may both consider yourselves owned. 

Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III

This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at:


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