The outrage stemmed from Oprah’s new interview show on Apple TV+ called “The Oprah Conversation.” In an episode, Oprah spoke with former NFL linebacker and host of the web series “Uncomfortable Conversation with a Black Man,” Emmanuel Acho. According to The Hill, when discussing racism in America and white privilege, Winfrey said that white folks have a “leg up.”
“There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people — the caste system that’s been put in place — but they still, no matter where they are on the rung, or the ladder of success, they still have their whiteness,” Oprah explained.
“You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter,” she added.
Many conservative and far-right commentators missed the racial analysis of her comments and just saw Oprah’s money. As one of the few Black billionaires in the world, Oprah is very rich to say the least. However, as she suggested, her money doesn’t separate her from her race or her womanhood. She can very well still move through spaces and experience racism and sexism.
People like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz weren’t trying to hear this. The Texas senator went as far as to call Winfrey’s comments on her show “racist.”
“Billionaire Oprah lectures the rest of us: ‘You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter,’” the senator wrote on Twitter in response to an article from the conservative outlet The Blaze.
“What utter, racist BS,” Cruz added.
Other conservatives echoed Cruz’s comments with Texas Congressional nominee Irene Armendariz-Jackson writing, “And now why is Oprah, maybe the richest black woman in the world, trying to shame white people as privileged? Miss Winfrey, you are the personification of WHITE PRIVILEGE!”
Again, many people in this congregation missed Oprah’s point.
The 66-year-old media mogul made her comments amid recent attention to police killings, including the death of Breonna Taylor. Oprah featured Taylor, a Black EMT killed by the Louisville, Kentucky, police, on the recent cover of O magazine. It was the first time anyone other than Oprah was featured on the cover, according to The Hill.
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For the first time in 20 years, @oprah has given up her O Magazine cover to honor Breonna Taylor. She says, “Breonna Taylor. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name.” Tap the link in our bio to read more about Oprah’s tribute to Breonna—and her recent conversation with her mother, Tamika Palmer. Breonna: This one’s for you 🙏🏽 The September issue will be available wherever you buy or download your magazines on 8/11. (🎨: @alexis_art)
In Oprah’s talk with Acho, he brought attention to how white people should be anti-racist.
“Here’s what I told my friends with their white children,” he started. “I said, ‘Y’all live in a white cul-de-sac, in a white neighborhood, in a white city, in a white state. If you were not careful, your children will live their whole white life, and at 26, 27, they’ll end up being a part of the problem, because you just let them and allowed them to live a completely white, sheltered and cultureless life.”
He went on to say that white people “run American.”
“CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, execs, ownership, they run America. Not an individual white person, but collective white people,” he said. “I firmly believe that if the white person is your problem, only the white person can be your solution.”
You can check out more criticism from far-right commentators who missed the point of the discussion below.