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Irv Rhodes: Editorial discounts experience of black Americans

To the editor:

Of all of the offensive, ill-advised assumptions, blindness and offensive words contained in the Aug. 16 editorial, titled “Oprah Winfrey’s lost-in-translation moment,” the following quote was perhaps the most startlingly offensive of them all:

“And Winfrey continued to trade telegenically on her personal experience — the source of all her wealth and fame — to make a point about life when nothing in her experience any longer, even race, connects with life as other people live it.”

Just for a moment, think about the words “nothing in her experience any longer, even race, connects with life as other people live it.” The woman just experienced what many ordinary black people experience on a day-to-day basis regardless of their station in life.

It is as if the editor never listen to, read or saw the reactions of black people from all economic strata to the Trayvon Martin verdict. It does not matter how much money or celebrity you have, you are defined by your skin color first. Oprah was just as shocked that this could happen to her.

The scars of discrimination seldom if ever heal and can be brought to surface quickly by acts such as Oprah experienced. Your editorial discounts the experience of not only Oprah, but every other black person in this country. An apology is in order.

Irv Rhodes

Amherst

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Editorial: Oprah’s lost-in-translation moment

Monday, August 19, 2013

We shed crocodile tears reading about Oprah Winfrey’s treatment at a Zurich boutique — for the crocodile, not the billionaire. The Associated Press reported that Winfrey, in an Entertainment Tonight segment, discussed how a Swiss retail clerk snubbed her by suggesting she need not look at a crocodile leather handbag because she would not be able to afford it. The … 14

Editorial: Oprah’s lost-in-translation moment

Monday, August 19, 2013

We shed crocodile tears reading about Oprah Winfrey’s treatment at a Zurich boutique — for the crocodile, not the billionaire. The Associated Press reported that Winfrey, in an Entertainment Tonight segment, discussed how a Swiss retail clerk snubbed her by suggesting she need not look at a crocodile leather handbag because she would not be able to afford it. The … 14

Editorial: Oprah’s lost-in-translation moment

Monday, August 19, 2013

We shed crocodile tears reading about Oprah Winfrey’s treatment at a Zurich boutique — for the crocodile, not the billionaire. The Associated Press reported that Winfrey, in an Entertainment Tonight segment, discussed how a Swiss retail clerk snubbed her by suggesting she need not look at a crocodile leather handbag because she would not be able to afford it. The … 14

Well said, Mr. Rhodes. It doesn't matter how wealthy or well-educated or even how far you get in government-some people will never see beyond that black skin. Several years ago, former Smith College president Ruth Simmons shared her experience of being followed when she shopped in boutiques. A few years ago, Skip Gates was arrested on his own front porch. In 2008, a black UMass student, was charged with aggravated assault when he defended himself from two white intruders. Treyvon Martin was shot to death by a man who had called police 46 times in the past to report 'suspicious black men.' Racism might not touch you brutally if you are wealthy and famous like Oprah, but it does still exist.

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