You can work your way out of poverty. You can fight your way out of despair. You can own homes in multiple cities and be one of the richest women in the United States of America, but gosh darn it, you can’t buy your way out of being black. But if you are rich and black (and typically famous) at least you can do what us regular Joes who get followed around the mall by rent-a-cops can’t do. Go to the nearest TV camera or newspaper person and SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
This is what Oprah did. This is what Oprah does. You do not refuse to show Oprah a nearly $40,000 handbag in a Swiss shop when she’s in town forTina Turner’s wedding and make her feel like she’s being besmirched just because she’s got that permanent tan that never ran. Sure, she was magnanimous in the moment, saying she could have thrown down the “black card” (you know that mythical invitation only credit card with no credit limit? The AMEX Centurion card, aka The ULTIMATE black card), but she said why bother and kept on stepping.
While talking to Entertainment Tonight about the dreaded “N-word” Ms. Winfrey said:
“Racism for me doesn’t show itself that way. It still exists,” she said and went on to explain what happened in the Zurich shop.
Now the clerk who refused to show her the $40,000 handbag in this upscale shop in Switzerland is crying foul. Oprah “cannibalized” her. She didn’t refuse to show her the purse because she was black and therefore could not afford it. She just didn’t show it because … um … because … because REASONS. That’s why.
“I explained to her the bags come in different sizes and materials, like I always do,” she said. “She looked at a frame behind me. Far above there was the 35,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag. I simply told her it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags.”
“It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds…This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer.”
I’m going to make a suggestion for white people in Europe who think by nature of them not being Americans they can’t be racist even though there are plenty of black and brown people who get treated pretty crappily there:
If you’re a high-end shopkeep go to the Google and just start typing in things like Forbes wealthiest African Americans or Forbes Wealthiest Africans or any Forbes list to do with wealthy and/or famous black people. Also, start checking your top touring worldwide entertainers lists and famous black actors lists and just straight up print out the pictures and have your potentially racist employees memorize the faces of the black, rich and famous. The last thing you want to do is potentially insult a black person with a whole lot of money. Imagine if it had been Beyonce with Blue on a non-makeup day? The STANS alone would have went to Kickstarter, raised money from other stans for tickets to Switzerland, found this woman (using Twitter of course) and torn this woman apart until she was nothing but bones and a clump of hair. Do you want your shop employees to be nothing but bones and clumps of hair? Of course not.
SO JUST PUT OPRAH’S PICTURE UP ALREADY WITH THE WORDS “GIVE THIS WOMAN WHATEVER SHE WANTS” and underneath it write: “NO QUESTIONS ASKED.” Because Oprah may not get you that day. Or the next day. But she will remember and like Liam Neessen in the film Taken she has a certain set of skills and that is talking in front of a TV and people caring about what she has to say.