Conservatives Attack Oprah for Being Rich, Black and Believing in the White Privilege 'Conspiracy Theory'

Illustration for article titled Conservatives Attack Oprah for Being Rich, Black and Believing in the White Privilege 'Conspiracy Theory'
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

I’m calling it now: Oprah Winfrey is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Aside from becoming the first Black female billionaire, being the most successful talk show host in history and co-owning a successful nightclub with her husband Harpo, unbeknownst to many, Oprah recently angered conservatives and discovered the cure for white privilege:

$2.6 billion.

Because Oprah doesn’t technically have what anyone would consider a “peer,” The Root cannot confirm who reviewed Oprah’s groundbreaking research. However, White Twitter seems to be very upset at Oprah, even resorting to the most literal form of “not all white people.” And history shows that whenever white people are mad at something a Black person said, the Black person was probably right.


On Thursday, Winfrey hosted former NFL player Emmanuel Acho, who hosts the web series Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man. During the conversation on racism, white supremacy and inequality in America, Oprah and Acho waded into the discussion of white privilege, even causing a Caucasian on the show to get in his feelings so much that he started hearing sounds that didn’t exist, including the phrase “all white people.”

Newsweek reports:

“Not all white people have power,” said one guest. “There’s plenty of poor, working-class white people. But I think that when we group all of white people together and we don’t recognize the fact that there’s a lot of white people that struggle, and it’s a different struggle as you mentioned because they’re not streaming upstream let’s call it...

“I think that if we’re gonna come together and really attack racism and the inequities that are in this country and are in this world, that it’s important not to group all white people.”

In response, Winfrey said: “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.”

But it wasn’t just that one guest who took issue with the absolutely true conversation. According to Ted Cruz and others on “pinch-of-salt Twitter,” Oprah’s wealth is proof positive that white privilege doesn’t exist.


Usually, I only include three examples, but here’s one more:


And of course, Black Twitter chimed in (and please don’t ask me why I’ve-Been Cursing-Out-My-Mom-Since-I-Was-8 Twitter gets more tweets than I-Still-Can’t-Raise-My-Voice-At-My-Mom-And-I’m-36 Twitter. There were too many mad white people to choose from): 


Anyway, the fact that white people are making this argument proves three things:

  1. Why racism exists: The fact that white people can’t understand why Oprah wants to solve a problem that doesn’t affect her personally explains why a lot of white people don’t try to help eliminate racism—because they’re not affected.
  2. Conservatives are stupid: Citing a singular example does not disprove that a problem is not pervasive and destructive. The fact that some smokers don’t die of cancer doesn’t mean smoking doesn’t cause cancer. I bet there is someone right now who is half drunk and high on crystal meth, texting and driving above the speed limit. If he or she (but probably he) gets home safely, does that mean we should immediately eliminate drunk driving laws, legalize drugs and abolish the speed limit?
  3. White people deny white privilege because they want to keep their white privilege: Let’s suppose white privilege didn’t exist. Then, what harm comes from talking about it? I don’t believe in dragons, wizards or Donald Trump’s ability to do math but I don’t get upset when people talk about Game of Thrones, Harry Potter or...OK, I did get a little miffed when Donald Trump talks about the Electoral College, but you see where I’m going.

For the last time, here’s an apt explanation of white privilege:

Imagine 1,000 white Americans were standing next to 1,000 Black people and we asked everyone who did drugs to raise their hands. Statistically, slightly more white people would raise their hands. If we asked how many had been arrested for drugs, three times more Black people would raise their hands than white people. If we asked how many had been convicted and sentenced, five times more Black people would raise their hands than whites. 


If we asked how many attended an underfunded school, more Black people would raise their hands. If we asked how many had great-great-grandparents who were slaves, more Black people would raise their hands. If we asked how many had great-great-grandparents who were denied government benefits, more Black people would raise their hands.

And if we asked how many people in total had raised their hands, most of the people could come up with an answer. However, there would be a few people in each group who couldn’t count that high because they weren’t smart enough to do the math. Everyone agrees that the number of people who couldn’t count would be very small.


But only the white people could become president.

That is what Oprah was talking about.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.



This is why arguments of class over race fall flat. Because even Oprah can still get racially profiled while shopping. 

Are there black people out here angry that Oprah is a billionaire? Because frankly I think most of our folks like seeing our own get paid. As the great philosopher Beyonce said, “The best revenge is your paper.”