FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Oprah is No Savior

by

Oprah Winfrey’s remarkable Golden Globes speech rocked not only the event’s A-list attendees, but almost all of America.

Winfrey cited the under-told story of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who was raped by six armed white men during the Jim Crow era. Despite threats to her life, Taylor reported her story to the NAACP — where Rosa Parks made it her mission to help her find justice.

That justice was never seen, but Oprah ended her speech on an optimistic note. “A new day is on the horizon,” she said. “A lot of magnificent women” and “some pretty phenomenal men” are “fighting hard to make sure that … nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

In typical modern fashion, #Oprah2020 began trending on Twitter.

I’m a huge fan of Oprah. But I disagree with the masses who want her to run for president.

Not because she’s a political amateur, but because America has a history of looking to black women to save Americans from themselves — while not providing the proper recognition for their labor or even respect.

John Dean, a White House counsel under Obama, tweeted an endorsement that sums this up: “She could end Trump’s, and the GOP’s, misogyny and racism like no one else!” he predicted, tagging his post #Oprah2020.

But why should the burden of cleaning up Trump’s mess fall on a single black woman?

America has always trusted black women to do the work, but it’s always come at the expense of their well-being. This notion goes all the way back to the days of slavery, when enslaved black women were forced to breast-feed their slave master’s babies with their own breast milk. Known as wet-nursing, this exploited the motherhood of black women while forcing them to disregard their own children.

Since then, black women have been at the forefront of social movements in America — dating back at least to Harriet Tubman’s leadership of the Underground Railroad, which helped 100,000 people escape from slavery.

Whether it was the women’s suffrage or civil rights movement, African American women were “the critical mass, the grassroots leaders challenging America to embrace justice and equality for all,” as an exhibit at the Women’s National History Museum puts it.

And when America’s earliest forms of feminism began to unravel, it was Sojourner Truth who inserted what’s now known as intersectionality — recognizing not only gender discrimination but also its overlap with racial discrimination — in her famous poem “Ain’t I A Woman?”

The list goes on. Black women like Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell fought passionately for women’s voting rights without ever getting the recognition that better known white suffragettes enjoyed.

Even today, the cultural revolution around sexual assault and harassment owes a huge debt to the #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke, a black woman who started the movement a decade before it went viral.

And it plays out through our elections. In the Alabama Senate race, 98 percent of black women voted for Doug Jones. They’re the reason he beat Republican Roy Moore, who was widely known for making inappropriate sexual advances on teenage girls.

Many Americans did recognize the black women who kept Moore out of the Senate. That’s good news. But it was still a white former prosecutor they were sending to Washington, who may now shy away from black women to please conservative whites in his deep-red state.

If we’re serious about having black women lead, we can’t stop at recognizing them. We need to empower them both economically and politically.

Over 100 black women are running for state and local offices this year. Giving them the consideration they deserve would say a lot more than simply counting on Oprah — or anyone else — to clean up Trump’s mess alone.

More articles by:
February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail