Is Oprah any different than Bush?

by Joseph Parker

Any of us who are angry at President Bush for his policies on this war in Iraq should be just as angry at Oprah Winfrey…

…What? You dare to compare Oprah with President Bush’s war in Iraq?

How many of us, regardless of our views on this war, have used the argument we are waisting billions of dollars on a war we should not be fighting when that money could be going toward educating our children here in America?

I am not saying one way or another whether that is a just claim or not…I can understand that and even agree with it to a point…and I am not saying girls in South Africa should not be helped…but I am asking,

How is Oprah any different from Bush?

Let me explain with Oprah’s own words,

Oprah Winfrey is firing back at critics of her decision to build a $40 million school complex in South Africa – saying she didn’t build it in the U.S. because inner-city kids here don’t appreciate the value of a free education.

“I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there,” the TV talk-show maven says in the current issue of Newsweek.

“If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”

And I know for a fact that Oprah is correct in her statements…but SO WHAT!

Should we then begin the argument that we should send our tax dollars to the war in Irag because the Iraqees want it more than we do? They appreciate it more (which I know this has been part of the debate, but it appears there is evidence they do want our help…depending on which news channel you watch)?

…aah, I digress…back to the subject on hand…

Oprah just gave $40 million dollars for a South African project that could have done wonders for kids here…

SO WHAT if our kids are unappreciative…that is the fault of our social-welfare system giving them everything they ask for…WE have taught them this lie you can get anything and everything you can ask for.

BUT, if we equip the adults in their lives properly, we can change this…

WOW…imagine what $40 million dollars could do for so many kids HERE…in America!

And I agree…it is HER money and therefore HER right to choose how she gives it away…but come on…there is a point where hypocrisy can only go so far…

Again, I am not making a judgment one way or another that what Bush is doing is right or wrong, but I think this is a very interesting comparison of how we as a nation can be so angry about Bush, and then look the other way when Oprah does a similar thing.

Similar? You dare to compare the two?

Yes, I do…when Oprah’s money could go toward programs here in America that could educate children, not just in academics, but about the importance of integrity, character, critical thinking, making good choices in life…understanding an IPod will not give them what they truly desire…love, acceptance, contentment, peace, etc.

Rather, OUR kids are joining gangs, taking drugs, dropping out of school, getting pregnant at age 13, 14, 15…then yes, I think that money going overseas is just as damaging as what Bush has been doing…

…I think many more kids have died here in America (not just physically, but emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually) these past five years than the near 4,000 soldiers we have lost in that time.

If Oprah truly cares about America and our people…where is the $40 million dollars to an effort/cause she truly believes in that can make just as much an impact on kids lives here…

…because trust me, those South African kids are no different than our kids here…they will start to get, and get, and get and they will eventually fall into the same selfish traps our kids have fallen into if they do not have the adult presence I talked about above.

So…have I riled you up enough? Tell me what you think.

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2 responses to “Is Oprah any different than Bush?

  1. I’m not a big fan of Oprah, but she really dropped the ball on this. It is particularly shameful that she, as an African American woman, does not realize that the state of our inner city schools are the result of incredibly low expectations that are placed on minority children. I have had a lengthy career working in an inner city school, and I know this first hand. Students who enter the high school in which I work are used to having very little being asked of them. For their entire career, the schools that they have attended have treated them like some “poor creatures” that are not capable of performing or having any expectations placed on them. As a result, their priorities are messed up.
    When I first started teaching I was afraid to ask my students to buy simple supplies like a notebook. I assumed that because they were minority children in an inner city, that they could not afford supplies. What arrogance! As time went by I realized that my students were put together beautifully-their clothes were trendy and expensive. I started to “cop on.”
    Once I “copped on” I began to realize how institutionalized these low expectations had become. The students had internalized them
    Here’s an example. I had asked my students to purchase a folder to keep their student work in. (I kept a few at hand for the children who really could not afford them)After about two weeks, one of my students still hadn’t purchased one. I asked him why he still hadn’t bought one. “I can’t afford it.” I sensed this wasn’t true but I didn’t want to make assumptions. “I have some folders if you want one.”
    “I don’t like the ones you have,” he replied. Again I copped on. “John,” I asked. How is possible that you’re wearing Timberland boots, but you can’t afford a folder?” He smiled and asked me to walk over to him. He reached into his pocket and took out five dollars. “Can you pick one up for me? I don’t feel like going to the store.”
    If Oprah wants to do something, let her work on improving the consciousness that expects so little from inner city children, and has kept them expecting very little from themselves.

  2. Avoicein,

    Thank you for you input; I could not have said it better myself. I too have worked in inner city schools the past 15 years and agree with your assessment having virtually identical experiences.

    But just to be clear for anyone reading this, I am not saying these girls in South Africa don’t need help, but her rationale and basis for helping them verses helping our own kids here in America seems extremely hypocritical…Avoicein’s comments above building on that point.

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