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Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is Maybe Not the Best Person to Lecture About Privilege

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One of the more difficult aspects of talking about race is that it’s generally most effective if you can do so in a way that doesn’t alienate people who would otherwise be on your side. Like, for example, it’s not particularly smart to just start with “all white people are racist.” You put people on their heels and make them defensive and less likely to listen to you.

Having a billionaire lecture poor people about their privilege is another really bad way to approach this, as Oprah Winfrey is finding out.

You see, Oprah tried to discuss this topic on The Oprah Conversation on Apple+ with her guest Emmanuel Acho. Here’s what she said, via The New York Post.

There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people — the caste system that’s been put in place. But they still, no matter where they are on the rung or ladder of success, they still have their whiteness.

You know what pretty much trumps whiteness in the caste system? A billion dollars. And while we all have Oprah being a billionaire in mind, what advantage do you think that a billionaire, even a black billionaire, gets from stirring up racial division among the working class?

She went on to say this:

You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter.

Now, she’s not wrong, for various socioeconomic and historical reasons if you look at the average white person and the average black person, it was probably a little easier for the white person. You know who has it a lot easier than both of them? Any rich person. And that rich person is doing more to hold both the white and black worker down than either of them is doing to the other.

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