Cynical Synapse

Mon, 10 Sep 2007

Seems Racist to Me…

Filed under: Behavior, People, Politics, Racism, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 9:32 pm

I’m a white male, so I’m probably not the one to decide what is and what isn’t racist. I’m sure we’re better off than we were 20 and 40 years ago in this regard and I’d like to think racism doesn’t exist in the US today. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case either.

I try to do my part to ensure prejudice and bigotry are not part of daily life in our society and I expect others to do the same. I get rather riled up when I suspect African-Americans (a term that I’m not enamored with, by the way) are playing the “Race” card. So you can figure what I thought when I heard NPR report Oprah would only host Obama. WHAT? If that’s not reverse discrimination, I don’t know what is?

In case you haven’t noticed, Obama’s the only African-American candidate for president. At least that’s the way it looks to me from the Washington Post’s list. Part of me says it’s good there’s a Black candidate that’s a serious contender at all. That says there’s been progress in race relations. From the start, though, I’ve wondered just what’s so special about Barack Obama besides his name. This is his first term in a national-level office and he’s already running for president? I suppose he’ll be like Lieberman and keep his senate seat just in case he doesn’t win. But I digress.

Don’t misunderstand me now. Oprah’s as entitled as any of the rest of us to support the candidate of her choice. And she’s entitled to let everyone know about it, too. That’s not the issue. The problem is, she’s a public figure. She can still support the candidate of her choice, but to deny all of the others access to the same public pulpit she will grant only to Obama does her viewers a disservice. She has an obligation on her show to be fair and impartial precisely because she’s a media figure.

Oprah’s failing to live up to her public trust. If she was confident in her beliefs and ability to influence people, she wouldn’t have to try to give any candidate an unfair advantage by only letting Obama have a seat at the table. Beyond any issues of the campaign or her personal political beliefs, she’s already influenced people. What surprises me is no one seems to see what looks like pretty blatant racism to me. Is it just me or has “political correctness” forced us to avoid casting the same critical eye on others’ unfair behavior?

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6 Comments

  1. If you think it’s racist then by all means call it out as you see it. I am all for pointing out the racist behavior of folks especially in the media. And Oprah is one of my least favorite people so I am surely not here to tow her line. Anyway, I was just wondering how often do you “see” racism that is targeting other races, since you see the racism here. I like to call attention to hypocrisy no matter the race, so I was just wondering.

    I don’t know if I it’s racist but can surely be construed as such. I watched her interview and she said that she is only hosting him because it is about who “she” is supporting, or some crap like that. I feel it is a cop out and that she is giving him an unfair platform, yet people like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity do this very same thing. I think it should be stopped, Oprah, Bill and Sean should be curtailed from showing any favorites and giving them a platform to “reach” their large fan bases.

    Good post

    Comment by theblacksentinel — Mon, 10 Sep 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  2. Thanks for reading and thanks for your question. I don’t watch Oprah nor do I watch Bill O’reilly, Sean Hannity or any of those kinds of shows. I guess that makes me not an expert of any of them.

    The political commentary shows have a definite agenda. People who watch those shows know there’s an agenda and either watch because they agree or because they disagree. Oprah, on the other hand, comes across as being for the “common person,” with a seeming agenda of furthering society. If that’s true, does that mean all of the other candidates have a contrary purpose?

    What really set me off, however, is the crux of your issue: hypocrisy. If everyone should be treated fairly, then why exclude all but one candidate? The one who happens to be African-American, by the way. Support Obama if you want and be public about that. No issue from me with her fund-raiser. But exclusive rights to her public forum? Crosses the line in my mind.

    Oh, and yes, unfortunately, I see other cases of racist behavior. Just not usually when it’s public figures involved.

    Comment by cynicalsynapse — Mon, 10 Sep 2007 @ 10:33 pm

  3. I agree with you totally, she needs to either open it up or shut this farce down. I think it is a shame that she is opening her fan base exclusively to this one person. I don’t watch these shows unless it is something that I want to rant about.

    This is hypocrisy plain and simple. She should be made to explain her actions better, because if this were David Letterman (couldn’t think of anyone else) anyway if it were him and he only opened his fan base to John Edwards, people would be fuming. So you are right this situation is quacking like a duck and we both think it’s looking a lot like a duck. This is shameful.

    Comment by theblacksentinel — Mon, 10 Sep 2007 @ 11:22 pm

  4. I’ve actually been reading a few other blogs on the issue and some good points are being made. Oprah opened her show to Bush in 2000 and only Bush. This changes things. I don’t think that this is any different and just because the guy is Black shouldn’t make it different either. I did think that this was like O’Rielly, Limbaugh and Hannity who all do the same thing and I still do, but no one makes a big deal of it like I said before. No one ever says it makes them racist either.

    I mean if you think about it people choose to support who they like, Black or White. I let my serious dislike of Oprah make up my mind before knowing the background of how she operates.

    So now I can honestly recant my last statements, at least some of them. I still think she is a hypocrite. Yet racist, no, since she did the same for Bush, this shows that race isn’t the main factor.

    Comment by theblacksentinel — Thu, 13 Sep 2007 @ 4:45 pm

  5. I do appreciate your interest in the topic, theblacksentinel. I don’t want to play the race card if it’s not warranted.

    I agree people can and should choose to support whoever they want for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter if I agree or not. And that holds true for Oprah. The issue is not her support for Obama. It’s the exclusivity she’s giving him.

    Based on your last comment, I went to Oprah’s website. I didn’t find anything to show she had any candidates on for the 2004 campaign. But, as noted in this press release, Oprah had Al Gore on Sept. 11th and George Bush on Sept. 19th in 2000. I don’t know if she endorsed or supported one or the other and I don’t care. Both candidates were given the same opportunity and Oprah was fair to her viewers.

    If, for this campaign, Oprah only lets Obama on the show, she’s not being fair. If she excludes all the white candidates, it strikes me as racist. Wouldn’t that be the claim if it was the other way around?

    Comment by cynicalsynapse — Thu, 13 Sep 2007 @ 9:43 pm

  6. I wouldn’t even call it reverse discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, and giving it a special name because of the race involved is admitting race is still an issue.

    I too have wondered if anyone else thought it was obvious that Oprah is playing the race card. I don’t care what color the candidates are, I just want the best person to win. But I’m sure him and H. Clinton will get plenty of black pride and girl power votes. Whatever happened to judging by character and actions like MLK wanted? You get called a racist or sexist when you do that anymore…

    P.S. Thanks for being the first to comment on my blog (besides spammers). I’ve been reading your blog now, and I think you have a really nice and organized writing style. I wish I could think as clearly as you write! Don’t be discouraged with the hits.

    Comment by Scott — Thu, 20 Sep 2007 @ 10:18 pm


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