Everyone and their mother has heard about Oprah’s brush with racism in Zurich. In case you haven’t, let me give you the scoop. Oprah visited an upscale department store when she spotted a spectacular $35,000 handbag. She politely asked the saleswoman to let her see it. After all, Oprah’s a billionaire and the astronomical price wouldn’t break her bank. The saleswoman didn’t see it that way. Forfeiting a hefty commission, she informed Oprah that the bag was too expensive and that she should look at cheaper items. Oprah respectfully went back and forth until finally, she gave up. She decided not to argue, ask for the manager, or push the issue with the woman. Note, Oprah later went public about what happened but didn’t mention the name of the store in any interview that I am aware of.
Some time after, a storm developed. Not only do we know the name of the store but the owner, Trudie Gotz, is desperately trying to do damage control. How were they outed? I can only speculate. We may not like or agree with everything Oprah says or does but she is a fine example of what a strong black woman should be. Whether she covertly outed the racist saleswoman or someone else did it on her behalf (but who?), they will suffer in some financial way because of who Oprah is. She’s a strong Proverbs 31 woman who created an empire via her own hard work and determination.
There is one reality check, though. We aren’t Oprah and we certainly don’t have similar wealth. Thus, we may not produce a similar backlash when a saleswoman makes bias assertions against us. So, it may not be in our best interest to bow out quietly like Oprah did in the store. At the same time, we can’t get loud and belligerent. Not being able to control your temper shows that you are weak.
I know what I would have done. What about you?