The rapper 50 cent recently called Oprah an Oreo. Black on the outside, white on the inside. He claims that Oprah, "started out with black women's views but has been catering to middle-aged white American women for so long that she's become one herself."
I don't know, as a middle aged white woman I don't feel Oprah's speaking for me either these days. As part of today's show on managing your financial windfall, she interviewed a homeless man that had been given $100,000 by a documentary filmmaker.
The filmmaker followed the homeless man around to see what he would do with the money. If he would be able to pull himself up by his bootstraps and set up a "normal" life for himself. Well what the hell did you think was going to happen? People aren't homeless because they have excellent coping skills but just say "to heck with housing!" Most folks who are on the street are at the worst mentally ill, at best simply unable to function in a way that allows for a normal life. The entire story felt like it was supporting some demented Ah-Ha moment that backed up the idea that if you give a homeless person money they are just going to spend it on (insert stereotype here).
At one point Oprah told the story of how she gave a homeless person a suit and told them to show up the next day and she would give them a job. She seems injured as she tells us, "He took the suit. He took the suit and didn't show up for the job!". Riiiight. Cause the homeless are basically lazy you know. Just shiftless wanderers who really don't want to work. Needless to say this was an incredibly frustrating show.
A family member of mine was mentally ill. He had been abused most of his childhood and was never able to fully recover. Periods of his life were spent as a homeless person despite the money given to him by family members and multiple hospitalizations. Ultimately, he committed suicide. We all mourned not only his passing but the sadness and isolation he couldn't break out of so that he could join his community and heal.
Though I realize today's show pushed my buttons because of my own connections with homelessness I still think Oprah is an incredible narcissist. She can't empathize with guests unless she can somehow compare their struggles with her own (sometimes making absurd leaps) or become their benefactor. (Celebrity interviews stray slightly from this path, but they are often cast as her mentors or close peers.) As an example, an incredibly heavy man who suffered from sleep apnea talked about how he is so exhausted from lack of rest and his poor diet that he feels like he's 50 years old. Well, despite the fact that the man was in tears, and his wife feared his death by heart attack was imminent Oprah craned her neck, preened and proclaimed, "50 feels pretty good to me. Pretty good to me!". Cause, it's all about Oprah, ultimately.
Sigh. Stepping off my soapbox now. Here are a few links to help the homeless. Not only for this holiday season, but year round.
CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)
Project Renewal (Psychiatric support for mentally ill homeless)
Please leave a link in the comments section if you know of a great organization that helps!