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Oprah overplays the race card

August 17, 2013

[J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KRNG 101.3 FM Reno. Listen live Saturdays at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.]

When historians look back on the ramifications of electing a black President of the United States in 2008, one surprising conclusion will be the debilitating effect on the race card. Because of overplay, misplay, and inappropriate play over the last five years, the race card has lost its trump status.

That's a good thing. (Mark this date down. For the first and probably only time ever, J.P. Travis is saying something good came from electing Barack Obama.)

It used to be that liberals could always—anytime and anywhere—accuse someone of racism and that person would reflexively abjectly genuflect and prostrate him- or herself in apology, no rebuttal attempted. You were automatically guilty by stint of being white, or conservative, or God forbid both.

Not happening that way anymore.

Oprah Winfrey went on Entertainment Tonight last week and complained about a racist shop clerk in Switzerland who allegedly refused to show her a $38,000 purse, and after a couple reflexive apologies from Switzerland the media started asking Oprah some awkward questions. Like, "What made you think she wouldn't show you the purse? Did you ask to see the purse?" The shop clerk chimed in with a question of her own: "Why would I refuse to show a purse to anyone, especially an expensive albatross like that?" (Okay, okay, she didn't call it an albatross. That's me assuming any purse with a price higher than ten bucks is a boondoggle.)

I'm guessing the commission earned on a $38,000 purse would turn any shop clerk in the world into a very very happy shop clerk.

The fact that Oprah started backtracking and wishing she hadn't mentioned the incident—the fact that she is being challenged about her version of events—is a good sign because the race card has been a curse on intelligent discourse. We are obsessed with race but we have never been able to talk about it because we never know when some wannabe victim will play that trump card and put us in the wrong.

But now people are asking important questions like, "How can a billionaire black woman who made her fortune from tens of millions of adoring white women possibly be a victim of any sort, let alone a victim of racism?" It's a twin of the question people are asking about the United States in general: "How can the president accuse the country of being racist when we elected him?"

The other absurd incident last week was a rodeo clown in Missouri who dressed up as Barack Obama, then ran away from a bull. The state of Missouri decided to ban the clown for life and require sensitivity training for the rest of the clowns. No, this isn't a joke—clowns will be getting sensitivity training. I scanned the news articles assiduously but was unable to ascertain whether the clowns would attend sensitivity training in clown makeup wearing big red noses.

Meanwhile, the NAACP is calling for an investigation by the Secret Service and prosecution of the clown for a hate crime... even though most witnesses insist the bull was the one doing most of the hating.

That the NAACP is being ridiculed and the clown defended, even by some elected politicians, is a sign of how weak the race card is getting. It just doesn't work anymore. White people are refusing to feel guilty about stupid stuff like clowns and $38,000 Swiss purses, and they're asking, "What's worse, a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask or the various books and movies we saw about assassinating George Bush?"

It's a good question.

The NAACP and the president have been taking turns making absurd charges of racism, stuff that even liberals can't take seriously. If the president isn't calling a white Boston cop "stupid," then inviting him to a beer summit, the NAACP is calling two Hallmark greeting card cartoon characters racist, then getting laughed out of Los Angeles.

How many times can people hear silly or outright false charges of racism before they stop listening altogether? In 2010 when the Tea Party was creating a tsunami of anti-government feeling, a group of black Democrat congresscritters walked across the Washington Mall to the capitol, flaunting their victory in the matter of nationalizing healthcare. They walked through protesting Tea Partiers hoping for a racial incident they could trumpet and exploit. They didn't get it, so they decided to lie and claim they did anyway. Unfortunately for the liars there were about a million cell phones and video cameras recording the walk and nobody recorded one single example of the n-word they claimed was being shouted.

No wonder the race card is worn out.

By the way, there was another incident similar to the Oprah incident this week. A famous celebrity was racially profiled, did you hear about it? Jase Robertson, one of the stars from Duck Dynasty, the most popular show on cable television, was in New York to appear on Live with Kelly and Michael. When he asked an employee at his hotel where the bathroom was, the guy looked at his scraggly-long redneck beard and camouflage pants and baseball cap, assumed he was a homeless man, and kicked him out of the hotel.

Jase Robertson thought it was funny. He called it "facial profiling."

There's a lesson there for Oprah, the president, and the NAACP: stop taking everything so seriously and start laughing at yourselves a little bit. And one more thing, Oprah: you will never see a $38,000 purse on Duck Dynasty.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." — Exodus 20:16 (9th of the Ten Commandments)

"There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers." — Proverbs 6:16-19

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

November 23, 2013 - Oprah has done it again. This time while promoting her movie, The Butler, she was interviewed by the British news. According to her views, some of the American people have no respect for the office of President and it's because of Obama's skin color. Honestly, it's convenient to pull the race card because how does one really defend themselves against such an allegation? The lack of respect couldn't possibly be due to his lack of leadership, poor policies, and fiscal irresponsibility, plus his lack of transparency, obvious lies, and deception. In addition to the absolutely nonexistence of accountability other than to mouth the words.'s because of his skin color. Perhaps Oprah needs to be reminded of what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they went to another country and criticized the President. While Ms. Winfrey criticized the American people, the same ones that have helped her become rich. Nothing like a great idea to bite the hand that feeds you. – Pam T., Virginia

August 17, 2013 - ....a rodeo clown dressed up as Barack Obama and then ran away from a bull.... Immediately thus penetrating his disguise and blowing his cover. Even Fly-Over-Country Americans know Zero never in his life ran away from bull! – Brian A., Arizona

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