Friday, November 29, 2013
Come on, Oprah. You’re way too smart to be this stupid.
When are you going to get off this kick about Barack Obama being disrespected more than previous presidents just because he is a black man?
It’s getting embarrassing, Oprah.
You’re one of America’s great talents and greatest success stories. You’re a self-made billionaire, an astute multimedia mogul, a beloved cultural icon.
You’re admired around the world for your generosity and good works. Your opinions and endorsements influence what millions of people read, how they think and who they vote for.
But after five years of President Obama’s reign, you apparently still haven’t learned a thing about presidential politics and race relations in this country.
You proved it again recently in Britain when you were plugging that movie, “The Butler.”
You were asked - for the umpteenth time - by the BBC whether you thought President Obama was being treated unfairly or criticized disproportionately by the media and others because he was black.
You said, “When the senator yelled out, ‘You’re a liar’ -- remember that? Yeah, I think that there is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs, and that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American.”
I realize your primary job in London was to promote “The Butler,” the movie about the real-life black butler who worked in the White House for eight presidents that was so bad I dubbed it “The Butler from Another Planet.”
But was your response to the BBC reporter’s question - a variation of the same claim you’ve made before - really the most thoughtful thing you could come up with?
Were you jet-lagged? Exhausted? Were you weary of being asked the same dumb question and having to give the same cliched answer?
Come on, Oprah. You’re off your usual game.
Using the example of the president being called a liar in Congress as proof that President Obama is a victim of racism is getting pretty stale.
It occurred in 2009. And it wasn’t a senator, it was South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson who yelled out “You lie” when Obama was overpromising the benefits of his Affordable Care Act to a joint session of Congress.
Oprah, you’re great. But you need to brush up on your history and current events.
America still has racists and bigots. They come in all colors and creeds. But you, better than anyone, must realize that the American people, especially the young, are increasingly colorblind.
You couldn’t have become the most influential woman on the planet and America’s richest black woman if white audiences hadn’t fallen in love with you.
And President Obama couldn’t have been elected twice without the broad support of white voters who cared more about his hopes and promises than the color of his skin.
Obama is being beat up for political reasons, not racial ones. Just take off those black-and-white glasses, Oprah, and read the headlines.
Obamacare is a disaster. Obama’s economic policies are failing and his administration is incompetent.
The president’s bipartisan critics in the media and in Congress don’t care what color his skin is, just as the “disrespecters” of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Ronald Reagan didn’t care about their white skin.
Oprah, let’s face it. It is you who are still fixated on the color of the president’s skin.
You need to update and upgrade your thinking. What you say matters. People trust you. They expect intelligent thoughts about race from you, not outdated and predictable cliches.
Imagine if you had said something to that BBC reporter like, “You know, that’s a really dumb and racist question. President Obama isn’t America’s black president, he’s America’s president. He’s taking his lumps because he’s been screwing up. It happens to presidents all the time. Except for a few racists, no one in America cares anymore what color the president’s skin is. Neither do I. I only care about the job he’s doing.”
That would have been an Oprah-worthy answer - and an important message about race for America.
‑ Michael Reagan’s “Making Sense” columns are distributed by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is the son of President Ronald Reagan.