*Oprah Winfrey sat down with BBC’s Will Gompertz and detailed how no one is above the racism that still exists in this world today … not even the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
“There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American,” she said, according to The New York Daily News. “There’s no question about that. And it’s the kind of thing no one ever says, but everybody’s thinking it.”
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Winfrey, 59, used the example of Republican congressman Joe Wilson shouting out “you’re a liar” during a 2009 speech President Obama gave. “Remember that?” she asked Gompertz.
The media mogul was promoting her movie “The Butler,” which debuted in theaters in the U.K. and Ireland on Nov. 15, and naturally the conversation turned to historical references of slavery and bigotry from the past and now.
“It would be foolish to not recognize that we have evolved and that we’re not still facing the same kind of terrorism against black people en masse as was displayed with the Scottsboro boys,” she said drawing reference to the film “12 Years a Slave.” “It’s gotten better.”
Still, she remarked that there are places all over the world from Africa to Russia to the South, where she was born and raised, that people are scrutinized simply because of the color of their skin. But unlike the past there are laws in place to try and protect people from that today.
“If I’d been born five years earlier, none, not any of the benefits that I’ve been blessed to be successful with would have occurred,” Winfrey, who was born in 1954 in Mississippi, said.
However, she pointed out that despite the progress the underlying problems of racism are far from solved.
Movies like “The Butler” and “12 Years a Slave” don’t paint a picture of the racism that existed in the past to show us that everything is great today, she said. Instead those films define the root of the problem that sadly still runs rampant in our society.
“That’s where it all started, this is how far we’ve come, and this is how much further we need to go,” she said. “Of course, the problem is not solved.”
Winfrey feels that these dilemmas will remain unsolved until the deep rooted bigoted thoughts of class and race and the just cause of human indecency that comes along with it and has been taught throughout so many generations fades away.
“There are still generations of older people who were born and breed and marinated in that prejudice and racism and they just have to die,” she added.