Some Black people think having a PhD from Harvard, becoming rich or living in a rich suburb would make them less Black, therefore more acceptable or respected by White people. I called this phenomenon the “Oprah Syndrome”.
The tragedy with the Oprah syndrome is that No one knows You are a rich or an educated black person beforehand, therefore the horde of racists will give you the ”Nigger treatment” long before learning anything about you.
That’s what Oprah Winfrey, a black billionaire, discovered the hard way in summer 2013 in Zurich (Switzerland):
”I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich.
- The easy way of being the middleman, servant to the international capital is a destructive mentality.
”I go into a store and I say to the woman, ’Excuse me, may I see the bag right above your head?’ and she says to me, ’No. It’s too expensive.’
When Winfrey insisted she did want to see the bag the shop assistant allegedly replied: ”No, no you don’t want to see that one, you want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You will not be able to aﬀord that.”
If an American Black Billionaire (2,7 Billion wealth) is treated that way, now imagine how millions of ordinary Africans are treated every day around the world.
In 2007, I heard the most sad story of all my life. It was few days before Christmas, and the social assistant of the organization where I was working sent an email to all employees with a gift catalog. Employees with kids under 7 years old could select up to 2 items they’d receive as gifts from the employer for their kids.
I happened to meet the assistant a morning and she kindly asked me what gifts my son would like to receive. I said I don’t know, but asked what the most popular items with other parents are. She replied ‘Every year is diﬀerent. There are some star products like Lego which work well with boys. Educational games, gears, and DVDs are also popular, but some parents are more practical and would go with stuﬀ like baby bathtub or bikes.’
Then she continued ‘It happens some years that I receive requests for items not listed in the catalog. Some funny, but few years ago, a mom asked her 6 years old daughter what gift she’d like for Christmas, and the little girl after lot of hesitation and sigh said ”Mom, could we become white even if it’s for one day!?’
The Assistant became silent for a whole minute then concluded ‘It was so painful to hear. I cried, and I cried all day long. I’m a mom too, you know!’
The 6 years old black girl in Paris already knew the diﬃculty of being black in a work dominated by white people who in a huge majority hate almost instinctively black people. Her dream to become white, even if it’s for one day, is the dream of millions of black kids and adults.
This is the reason why millions of Black people are bleaching their skin to have lighter skin, and are wearing human hair wigs that look like white people hair.
The thinking goes like this:
• – Black people are poor and despicable. I’m a rich person, therefore I’m not like those black people.
• – Black people are ignorant and lack proper education. I’ve graduated from University, therefore I’m less black now.
• – Black people lack good manners and attitude. I speak English very well, and I eat at table with fork and spoon, therefore I’m diﬀerent from those savages!
• – Where are you from? ”I’m originally from …” (understand like ”I came from some poor and despicable country, but now I live in a rich country, therefore, you know, I’m now diﬀerent from those savages who gave birth to me)
• – Black people worship stones and natural animistic forces (Voodoo). I’m born or converted Catholic, and go to church, therefore I should escape the treatment reserved to those Black people.
• – Black people dress with animal skin and some banana sheet. I’m always dress in suit and western style clothes, therefore I’m civilized.
All above made Malcolm X to wonder:
”Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair?
Who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such extent, that you bleach to get like the white man?
Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?
Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind?
Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other?
Who taught you to hate being what God gave you?”
John Henrik Clarke continued:
”They laughed at your clothes; and made you change your clothes,
”They laughed at your names; and made you change your names,
”But most importantly they laughed at your God; and made you change your God.”
In the end, those Black people are in constant search of approval by white people to feel worthy, and will go to extreme to ”shame” their own community (also called ”Black shaming”), and do anything possible to avoid or lessen the Black features they are born with. The trauma is well entrenched, and not easy to deal with.
The hard conclusion I could share with those victim of the ”Oprah Syndrome” is this: It’s a white man world we got to be living in. And, you’ll be treated as a Black person before anyone will learn about the long list of diploma you’ve got, how much money you have in your bank account, or how intelligent you are.
Our duty is to accept ourselves like we are, and work tirelessly to empower ourselves to be strong as a community, not just as individuals successes.
Individual successes will never be enough to bring dignity to our community. And without community success, as individual you’d be at the mercy of others.