Dignity over Money

by maithaixox on October 19, 2015 - 11:44am

            In the article “Oprah Winfrey and the Handbag She Couldn’t Have” published in the New York Times on August 9th 2015 by Christine Hauser, the author states that Oprah wanted to go to a luxurious store to buy this very expensive handbag. The brand of the handbag was Tom Ford with real crocodile skin and it approximately costs about 38 thousand dollars. As soon as she walked into the store, she had her eyes set on that handbag and so she asked the employee if she could see it and hold it. The employee was quick to show her other handbags that were less expensive, so Oprah had to ask to see the handbag she wanted multiple times. The employee tells her that she didn’t want Oprah to be heartbroken because it was very expensive and she might’ve not been able to afford it. In the end, Oprah left empty handed because she couldn’t believe what the employee did, clearly she didn’t know who Oprah Winfrey was.

            In my opinion, what the employee did was very wrong. First of all, when you work in retail, you’re supposed to listen to the clients and show them what they want to see, not purposely drift them away from what they want to purchase. Secondly, Forbes reported that in June 2012, Oprah Winfrey was #1 on the list of the most powerful celebrities. It said she made an estimate of 77$ million from June 2012 to June 2013. No matter how much money Oprah Winfrey makes (which is a lot), clearly didn’t matter to the employee because she couldn’t see past the black skin. I think that the employee had seen her skin color and was quick to tell herself that black people can’t be that rich to be able to afford a such expensive bag, even if it’s Oprah Winfrey. She was very quick to discriminate but sadly she isn’t the only one in the world to have the same mentality as her and it’s sad to watch.



Hauser, C. (2015, August 9). Oprah Winfrey and the Handbag She Couldn't Have, the New York Times. Retrieved from http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/oprah-winfrey-and-the-handba....


I found your summary/response interesting because it presents a concrete example of racial prejudices. Therefore, it will be easier for me to provide a personal analysis on the issue. Your title is simple and efficient into demonstrating the real issue, which is the reality of racial profiling.

Oprah Winfrey is a self-made African-American woman ; she is also one of the richest woman on earth.
The fact that the employee shows less expensive handbags to Oprah because of her skin colour, and some associate Black skin with poverty, shows the reality of racial profiling in our society. The issue is not that it happened specifically to Oprah Winfrey; an employee should be impartial to the client's looks, skin colour or clothing. The case of Oprah is even more ironic since she is a influential figure known for having a good financial status. If this happens to even the most famous of African-American celebrities, it most happens to any and every person of colour. This case demonstrates that some people still believe in wrong racial ideologies such as Blacks' lack of intelligence or social economic status.

To conclude, people should be aware of racial profiling to not make false assumptions about someone. Profiling encourages discrimination and racial stereotypes. It is everyone's responsibility to be sensitive to such discrimination.

I found your response rather appealing to me because of the concept of intersectionality clearly coming into play. Oprah Winfrey despite being one of the richest women and richest Black women in the world still faces discrimination not only for her skin color but also for her gender. Coupled with the fact that she was a black women coming in for a 38 thousand dollar Tom Ford bag in an influential Swiss shopping district, The sales lady wasn’t really too keen on her being able to pick up the tab. The feministic POV is very broad because Oprah Winfrey is a black female who also happens to be very rich, she is very privileged because she’s richer than most women on this earth and most people would argue she doesn’t have to face anymore struggles; in reality she faces it on three fronts such as class, race and gender. This ugly event that happened to her goes to show that even a women such as Oprah Winfrey still get treated like they come from the bottom of the barrel even in today’s society of social justice playing a key role in keeping the integrity for everyone.

The title of the article captivated my attention as it involves prejudice against black people. Discrimination based on race has always been an issue for black people since the early times. I believe this article is a perfect example of racial discrimination at present world because Oprah Winfrey is an African American woman who is one of the wealthiest people in the world; despite of that she was discriminated by the salesman in tom ford store. In her case, the salesman obviously did not know who she was and thus showed her different handbags which were cheaper instead of showing the one she wanted which cost around 35000 dollars. This demonstrates that people still holds the common ideology that black people are not financially stable. Oprah Winfrey is a very respectable and wealthy celebrity and if she is subjected to this kind of racial prejudice, then most certainly the common black people are too. They are not only seen as the poor race among the population but also viewed mostly as criminals, rappers, and not dressed appropriately. This incident also shows how even if you earn dignity and respect among people, there will still be people who have stereotype black ideologies of being poor or criminals etc.

“Zara May Be Racially Profiling Customers, Report Claims” this article talks about Zara allegedly racial profiling customers at its New York City locations, and for treating employees of colour unequally. A code word “special order” is used to warn the employees of a suspicious customer. According to the study 47 percent of the time it was used on African American mainly based on their colour and the way the dress. This article relates the issue of Oprah Winfrey getting racially prejudiced because aforementioned it is not only about Oprah. It’s about the whole black race and how they are perceived by other people. Either rich or poor, black people are seen differently even though it’s more common among lower class people. To conclude it is not right to judge someone or make assumptions about them based on their skin colour.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/06/24/zara-is-facing-accusation-of-rac... link to “Zara May Be Racially Profiling Customers, Report Claims”

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