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?