When media mogul and celebrity Oprah Winfrey isn’t busy attempting to win the approval of total strangers by buying them each a car, she is bemoaning the rampant racism that still plagues America. You wouldn’t expect it be that big a stumbling block if you judge by the black entertainer’s net worth, which is estimated at $2.9 billion.
Yet, racism, Winfrey laments, is alive and well. And more pervasive, it would seem, than anyone realizes, extending — in fact — well beyond the U.S. borders.
As unassailable proof, she revealed on Entertainment Tonight last week that while in Zurich to attend Tina Turner’s wedding, she left the hotel to go shopping on her own. She entered a high-end boutique and asked to see a bag that was in a display case behind the counter. According to Winfrey, the clerk replied, “No, it’s too expensive,” revealing that the item sells for $35,000.
Winfrey says she persisted and that each time her request was rebuffed by the clerk, who suggested she try on some cheaper merchandise.
Winfrey didn’t identify the shop (what a sport!), even though you’d think she’d want to alert her rich buddies, so they could snub the racist boutique on their own romps to Switzerland.
Since the incident occurred, the shopkeeper, Trudie Gotz, has come forward herself and claimed the incident was a misunderstanding occasioned by her salesperson’s poor English. Gotz told the BBC that Winfrey was “absolutely allowed” to look at the bag, stating “My salesperson wanted to give her the handbag in her hand. But she didn’t want to take the bag.”
I gotta side with Winfrey on this. When a sister can’t go into a store and drop more than six times the median net worth of U.S. black households on a handbag, you know there’s a disconnect somewhere.
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