Several conservatives made a colossal-sized fuss after Oprah Winfrey talked about white privilege on her Apple TV+ series “The Oprah Conversation.”
They called Winfrey a hypocrite, while bringing up that her net worth is $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. There were also claims that the media mogul made a lot of money by having a large white audience during her years as host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
In a two-part episode that began streaming on Thursday, July 30, Winfrey talked about racism and white privilege with former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho. Acho hosts his own web series called “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man” and is a known activist.
Joining the conversation on Winfrey’s show were white and Latinx guests, with one guest expressing it was wrong to say that all white people in the U.S. have equal power.
“Not all white people have power,” said the 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.”
The guest followed that up by saying, “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.”
Winfrey agreed that it would be wrong to believe that all white people share the same level of power as the whites who govern the system, but said their skin color still gives them a big “leg up” in society.
“There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people, the caste system that’s been put in place,” Winfrey explained. “But they still, no matter where they are on the rung or ladder of success, they still have their whiteness … You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter.”
One of the people who reacted to Winfrey’s comments was conservative columnist Todd Starnes. “I pray for the day that America becomes a nation where someone like Oprah will be able to become a billionaire,” Starnes tweeted sarcastically on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
Gun rights activist JT Lewis also took Winfrey to task on Tuesday and brought up her reported net worth. “How did Oprah make 2.6 billion dollars if America is so racist?” he asked.
Others, like Sen. Ted Cruz, weighed in and wrote, “utter, racist BS.”
But it wasn’t only white conservatives who blasted Winfrey. Wayne Depree, a Black conservative radio host, also had a problem with her comments.
“Billionaire Oprah is now shaming white people for all their ‘easy success’ in life,” he tweeted.
There was another reaction from Republican primary candidate Irene Armendariz-Jackson who wrote on Twitter on Aug. 4, “And now why is Oprah, maybe the richest Black woman in the world, trying to shame white people as privileged? Miss Winfrey, you are the personification of WHITE PRIVILEGE!”
It seems that Winfrey’s critics believe that she was underestimating the number of poor white people in the U.S., something that Acho addressed with a guest during the discussion.
“As a Black person, white people for the proverbial phrase of white people, they run America,” he stated. “CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, execs, ownership, they run America. Not an individual White person, but collective White people. 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.”