By Sarah Taylor
Oprah Winfrey said on video that white privilege and whiteness give white people a leg up over people of color in all situations. In a recent seminar about what it means to be white, the self-made billionaire told white people that they're racist even when they might not realize that they are racist.
Her white guests agreed.
What are the details?
In a recent episode of "The Oprah Conversation," Winfrey and NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho spoke to several white guests who admitted their racism.
During the episode — titled "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: Part 1" — Winfrey said, "There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people — the caste system that's been put in place — but they still, no matter where they are on the rung, or the ladder of success, they still have their whiteness."
"[Whites have a] leg up," she insisted. "You still have your whiteness. That's what the term 'white privilege' is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter. It is the fundamental issue."
During the discussion, Winfrey spoke with her white guests, who discussed their own personal come-to-Jesus moments in admitting that they, too, might just be racist.
One man, Seth, told Winfrey that he must be racist, because he's never been actively anti-racist.
"You've become woke during this period, and realized in that awakening that you are racist, right?" Winfrey asked Seth. "I just want to know how that happened."
Seth responded by admitting that he's apparently been a racist his whole entire life, but only now does he realize how.
"I was born in the '70s," he began. "I was born and raised in Manhattan. I've always considered myself to be liberal. Now I'm not only a friend of people of color, but also an advocate ... but this movement over the last month has been powerful. ... I realized that I couldn't be not racist. I realized that I either was a racist or an anti-racist, and I wasn't — I'm not — an anti-racist."
One woman, Lisa, told Winfrey that she — a Californian — said that even she has "unconscious biases that white people have."
'If the white person is your problem, only the white person can be your solution'
Acho responded by pointing out that white parents should help bear the burden of solving racism.
"Here's what I told my friends with their white children," he began. "I said 'Y'all live in a white cul-de-sac, in a white neighborhood, in a white city, in a white state. If you were not careful, your children will live their whole white life, and at 26, 27, they'll end up being a part of the problem, because you just let them and allowed them to live a completely white, sheltered, and cultureless life."
Acho added, "As a black person, white people — the proverbial phrase of white people — they run America. CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, execs, ownership. They run America. Not an individual white person, but collective white people."
He concluded, "I firmly believe that if the white person is your problem, only the white person can be your solution."
Author: Sarah Taylor