Oprah is once again speaking out about race. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she shared a story from her recent trip to Switzerland for Tina Turner’s wedding, in which she believes she encountered racism.
Oprah explained that she was shopping in a Swiss store (that shall remain nameless) and the associate refused to let her see handbag. Oprah assumes this is because the woman believed she would not be able to afford the pricey bag.
The Swiss national tourism office has since apologized to Oprah for the incident, taking to Twitter to declare, “this person acted terribly wrong.”
While racism of any kind should never be tolerated, it is interesting to see the reaction the American media has had to the incident. “Like Mitt Romney was mocked constantly for not being in touch with America,” Stu noted. And yet no one has questioned the fact that Oprah – who at one point was the highest paid television personality and the most influential celebrity in the world – was in Switzerland to attend a star-studded wedding while trying to purchase what has been described as a expensive handbag.
Glenn took the opportunity to describe his own experience. “It happened to me in New York. They wouldn't wait on me, because I was dressed like a slob and I was in a very nice store. It was before I was famous and I had the cash in my pocket, and I said, ‘I really want to see…’ And they would wait on everybody else,” Glenn explained. “Finally I said, ‘Excuse me. Can I see your manager?’ And the manager came out and I took the wad of cash out of my pock and I said, ‘See that? This is the money to buy that. I have been waiting to buy that for a couple of years. Here's the money. I just want you to know that person judged me as somebody who couldn't afford it.’ And I loudly said, ‘Don't ever judge someone on the way they look or the way they are dressed.’ Took my money off the table and never went back. And the guy was like, ‘No, no.’ I'm like, ‘You blew it. See ya.’”
“I guess that does happen in general,” Stu said. “I don't think that's racial. I could think of some case with myself as well. I didn't assign it to race, because obviously it wasn't in that case. Maybe that's the difference. She is assigning every one of those incidents.”
Ultimately, as Glenn has learned, prejudices come in many forms. “How about political differences,” Glenn asked. “How many places do I walk in [and people say], ‘No, sir’ and treat my like garbage because of my political opinion, Oprah?”