The situation regarding Paula Dean involved a distinctly different set of circumstances. If I remember correctly, wasn't Paula accused to using offensive language to people who worked for her? If I'm wrong let me know.
It seems that Oprah was a customer in a store. She wasn't saying things to employees in this situation.
It further seems that Oprah was hurt by the shopkeeper's refusal to just let her see the bag. The treatment of given to Julia Roberts film Pretty Woman by the snobbish shopkeepers could only be explained by assumptions regarding her language and her asking about how much things cost. There is a saying, if you have to ask the price...then you cannot afford it. Also, the way the character in the film was dressed and her behavioral patterns may have further suggested that the Roberts' character was a inexpensive prostitute, which we also know from the film. These reasons help us to understand the shopkeepers' attitude towards the Roberts character in the script Pretty woman. Why explains the shopkeepers refusal to let Oprah look at the bag, is perhaps what Oprah was hard pressed to understand. Perhaps, rightly or wrongly, Oprah concluded that the behavior towards her was due to some sort of unspoken operating racialized patterned way of thinking that had seeped into the subconscious or conscious mind of that shopkeeper in Sweden. Why can't Oprah express her beliefs about the incident? Why the anger towards her? What about freedom of speech? The shopkeeper is allowed to say her piece about what she believed was going on regarding the incident. Why can't Oprah?
As a thinker and a speaker, Oprah probably tried to understand why the woman would not just let her take a look at the purse. After asking several times and being told no, perhaps Oprah's brain went through a series of trying to find an explanation. After a number of requests, Oprah concluded that given the shopkeeper's attitudes and behaviors towards Oprah, that the women's actions could only be explained by modern day racism. Perhaps, for Oprah, this may have been the only explanation that make sense in this particular situation. Oprah is often expected to explain and answer questions regarding race. So, perhaps this incident was just too interesting not to discuss in the open, as Oprah has done so many times for many, many types of issues. So, we are people suggesting a gag order for Oprah on this one little issue? Should Oprah pretend that the incident didn't happen? Is this what people are saying? Or, are there other unspoken emotions brewing that people don't want to admit to? Is there a charged, heightened racialized tension in the air these days, that we have to disguise as being other things? Why has the governor of the State of Missouri declared a state of emergency pending the decision regarding the shooting of Michael Brown? What's really happening in our nation today? Why are so many people charged and hyped up about racialized patterns? Yet, people want to speak as though race has nothing to do with anything? If race doesn't matter, you sure cannot prove it by the reaction to Oprah's comments, by Oprah's comments, by the state of emergency in Missouri, or by recent shootings of teens who seem to be a certain color.
Regarding someone's comment below, I've seen what happens when a "White" person, or other non Black person walks into an "all Black" church. They tend to be very inviting or overly friendly, in my experience in "all Black" churches. They tend to feel "honored", from what I have seen. They may be surprised, since so many churches in our great nation still appear to be seemingly "self-segregated", even today.
Why does the pretty young lady, with black rimmed glasses, in this video (towards the end) appear to be so angry about the situation. She seems to be extremely "fed up", but with what?
The US is the greatest nation in the world and Oprah's life, I don't believe, would have happened anywhere else in the world. Because the US is the "greatest country" in the world, people like Oprah should point out the subtle ways in which race and racialized patterns still tend to operate in ways consistent with perpetuating the ways that race still can play out to harm people.
I teach courses on race and ethnicity. I one course, I asked students if race would no longer matter in societies in outer space in the far future. Most of the students responding seem to indicate that they believe racism will "always" be around and many state that they believe racism has always been around. This tends to be what many Americans (US) state when asked whether racism will go away. Yet, in situations where a person comments on what they believe to have been a racism-racialized type of patterned behavior, they get attacked and typically are not believed. Most people of color, unlike Jesse Lee Peterson, get opportunities to experience racialized comments and expressions of assumptions about race and ethnicity. I do agree with Peterson's being taken aback when Oprah states "they just have to die", this would include most of us who are older than 30, all colors. We would all just "have to die". However, the generations of the past, including me, have already left an impression in films, conversations, smile practices, elevator behavior, family structures, social and economic arrangements.
Dying off is not the solution. We are a society must find a way to discuss the lingering issues related to race, which are still around, in a solution oriented way. Instead, people tend to jump into racialized boxes and start fighting and barking at each other. It's time for citizens of the US to come together and to love each other so that we can really rise up to the great nation status. Cat fighting over race is prominent to the news today. It demonstrates that race is still operating and able to strike passion and hate instantly in the hearts of individuals. Oprah's statements contained in the video clips that Peterson selected for this site and comments made by Peterson all indicate race still matters in our society. When race no longer matters, we will not be bombarded with emotions linked to these patterned choruses of thought.
I don't believe Oprah is a socialist. I don't know how Peterson makes this leap.
I agree that Black "racism" is as ugly as White "racism", and "Native American" "racism, "Asian American" racism, "Hispanic American" "racism, "Persian" American "racism, "mixed" American racism and on and on. All "racism" is hurtful and ugly. But, Oprah does have the right of comment on issues related to racialized patterns and practices occurring in the US today. The US has invested more resources and time and energy than any other nation on attempts to eliminate and highlight racism. People bringing the issue up, for example Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others, is what makes the great nation attempts to get better and better so that we can stand proud and strong before other nations. Why can't Oprah speak? Let her speak her mind, then you speak your mind. But, to act as if she shouldn't muffle her mouth on issues related to race speaks to more than just a concern for "socialism". I believe the billionaire status of Oprah contradicts the allegations regarding Oprah being a socialist. I just don't understand the accusations of redistribution of wealth. Where is your proof of these claims? In the US we have public education, public health institutions, public roads, water resources, medicaid, medicare, NASA grants, loans and contracts to private industry and so many public taxpayer resources, which, I guess could all be attacked as attempts to redistribute wealth.
So what you come to believe is not the reality.
White people used Racism their (Political propaganda) to keep people disenfranchised. You are unlearned.
Black People do not live in Ghettos.
- Webster UniversityAdjunct Full Professor
- Washington UniversityAdjunct Faculty
- Northern Arizona UniversityFaculty
I've always wanted to be a professor, international scholar and author. I waited until late in life to pursue these dreams. Now I teach for 3 universities - Webster University Worldwide, Washington University and Northern Arizona University. I'm currently traveling around telling people about outer space development (Washington, DC, Beijing, Houston, St. Louis, Little Rock, Los Angles, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec...)
Link to Cambridge Scholars Publishing:
I've been blending insights from critical theory and the critique of colonization and development scenarios with an eye towards contributing to future global equality. I believe that outer space will soon be development and everyone can play a role in the new opportunities arising with the newer intelligent space telescopes locating exoplanets and new star systems, asteroid mining operations, humankind will soon enter a true space age. Newly constructed spaceports, advanced stages of space travel (private spaceships and starships) space mining, space law and space habitation architecture are all indicators that a SciFi reality is soon to come.
So far, libraries and universities in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Australia, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Virgin Islands, British, Thailand, India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Israel, South Africa, Namibia, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Russia, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Scotland, Guyana, Ireland, Canada and Mexico have obtained copies of the book. Libraries and universities in a wide variety of states in the US have also obtained a copy of this important book. http://www.worldcat.org/title/outer-space-development-international-relations-and-space-law-a-method-for-elucidating-seeds/oclc/830167722&referer=brief_results
The Hague’s Librarian’s Choice Website Listing:
Recent co-authored published article - Acta Astronautica