Billionaire Oprah Winfrey says it’s important for Americans to realize that “the system of White people” continues to keep Black citizens off “the ladder of success.”
The media mogul made the comments July 31 on her Apple TV+ show “The Oprah Conversation,” which included former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho.
Ms. Winfrey titled the episode “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: Part 1,” in honor of the ex-athlete’s YouTube conversations under the same banner.
“I’ve created this for you because in order to stand with us and people that look like me, you have to be educated on issues that pertain to me and fully educated so you can feel the full level of pain so that you can have full understanding,” Mr. Acho said during the episode’s introduction. “I fervently believe that if the White person is your problem, only the White person can be your solution.”
The duo brought in multiple guests to cover topics surrounding racism and unconscious bias.
“As a Black person, White people for the proverbial phrase of White people, they run America. CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, execs, ownership, they run America. Not an individual White person, but collective White people,” Mr. Acho told a guest who was concerned that conversations on race were prone to ignoring or downplaying the existence of poor Whites. “Are there some poor White people in America? Absolutely. How did that happen? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Because as a Black person, I understand how we got poor. I totally get that.”
The former NFL player noted that Black Americans become poor by not having access to home ownership or excellent school districts.
“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 the ladder of success, they still have their Whiteness,” Ms. Winfrey said.
The host added that no matter how poor a White person is, they will still have “privilege” over their Black neighbors.
“You still have your Whiteness,” she said. “That’s what the term ‘White privilege’ is. It means that Whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter what.”
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