Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire  (Read 12008 times)

angelus

  • Guest
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #100 on: June 23, 2005, 05:54:39 PM »
I've never been thrown out of a store. Even the fancier ones. Stared at? yes. followed? yes.
I'm white and cannot know what it is too be black. I have always been white and will always be so. I can only speculate what it must feel like to be treated like dirt in the contexts of which this thread speaks.

However, one could ask wether or not one gets the attention they expect.

Perhaps oprah expected to be denied access, thus the world around her confirmed her expectations.

For those who missed it:

A) Black person who has been through something similar: "Man sure seems racist to me.  Matter of fact, that's the third time some sh*t like that happened to me and my friends.  Can't be any coincidence!."

B) White person who has obviously never had a similar experience i.e no context:  "you need to show me the ashes from the cross burning in your backyard, or a videotape, something..otherwise, racism? What racism?"

None of us really know what happened.  So we had three pages of speculation so far...great. My question is this: why do you guys think that there is a marked difference in the response in situations like this....almost perfectly aligned by race?  Any thoughts?  Or do you not agree that it's like this?


Rudy Huckleberry

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3144
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #101 on: June 23, 2005, 05:56:13 PM »
I'd love to see comments on BP's question.

I'll also point out that no one thinks Oprah's situation is equal to the problem of world hunger or anything.  Seriously.  There are a lot of things that make me wonder why they get so much airtime - i.e Natalie Holloway, Billy Graham's last crusade, Prince William's graduation...  Why is it SO annoying to hear Oprah getting a piece of the action?  Is this now a discussion about the press?

steve23ucsb

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 21
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #102 on: June 23, 2005, 05:57:55 PM »
umm... Oprah did NOT feel discriminated against. She felt embarrassed that she and an "entourage" showed up at a store and her celebrity status did not gain her access after hours.

And remember, boycott France!

 ;)

jdohno

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #103 on: June 23, 2005, 06:00:36 PM »
I cut and pasted that from the article which is the first post in the thread. I don't know if you realized that. Also, the Daily News is with the New York Post in my book. Both can be fun to read but if they announced the Martians were landing at 3pm, I wouldn't blink.

"The source also told The Daily News that Oprah arrived at the store near closing time, though there were still shoppers inside, to buy a watch for friend and singer Tina Turner."
But the article said there were still shoppers inside and she was just going to buy a watch. I'm sure Oprah was aware that it was near closing time. The store could have closed the doors and just let Oprah get her watch. But I did retail a long time ago too and understand what you are saying about those lingering customers.

Near closing time?  Try AFTER closing time.



Of course, The Daily News is the bible of truth and honesty in journalism.  I so miss their in-depth reports on Bennifer. 

One Step Ahead

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6465
  • you say you want a revolution
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #104 on: June 23, 2005, 06:01:17 PM »
Yeah, making accommodations like this for celebs is totally standard.  It is odd that they didn't care if Opera talked up their handbags.

They frankly don't need another celebrity talking up their handbags.  They're Heremes. They've been around before Oprah, and they'll be around long after no one cares what bag she has.  I was just at Louis Vuitton and they have an inch thick binder filled with tabloid cutouts so people can figure out which bag they saw which star with and buy it.  I'm sure Heremes isn't going to be that hurt if Oprah starts carrying Chanel instead. 

Yeah, I'm sure it was that kind of attitude that got them where they are.  Look, it's definitely not the smartest way to go to piss off ANY celeb...esp. one like Oprah to whom other celebs listen.  How much you wanna bet her friend Julia Roberts stops shopping there too?

I hate to break it to you, but they look at EVERYONE that way in those kinds of stores. I'm white as can be and I feel incredibly uncomfortable at those high end places, even when I'm there to actually shop. There's also a huge difference in the way someone carries themselves and presents themselves. If I walk into Gucci wearing Adidas pants and a tshirt, I don't get looked at the same way I do when I walk in wearing a leather coat and button-down. There are always black people in the Louis store nearest me, and the ones who look like they have money are treated with kid gloves, and the rest (black and white) aren't. There are black women in there all the time dressed to the nines, and they have salespeople drooling over them. I also guarantee that if I took my lily-white self to a store in an all black neighborhood, I'd get more than a few looks.

Racism and skepticism is not a white or black characteristic. It affects everyone.

I hate to break it to you, but I'm not just referring to Hermes-esque places here.  When was the last time you were followed around a fish market?  Happened to me more than once.

Yes, people might look at you funny if you walked into a Black-owned establishment in a Black neighborhood.  But how often do you shop there?  Conversely, if I want to eat I have to go to a White-owned grocery store.  If I want clothes, I go to the White man's store.  If I want hair products, even in my own neighborhood, the Koreans own them - and they even follow us around?  Racism and skepticism may affect us all, but they *hardly* affect us equally.

I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist and that people don't encounter it in certain situations.  This discussion revolved around Oprah Winfrey and Hermes, and instead of believing the store that had video evidence to back its claims, everyone immediately acted like it was the "white man" being racist instead of a rich celebrity not getting her way (whether she threw a hissy fit or not).  When a store doesn't want someone to come in, no matter what their race, they don't politely invite you back the next day with an engraved card.  

Secondly, to respond to other points, French nationalism conspires against anyone non-French.  I've spent five years studying comparative politics and international relations, and I hope I would know at least that much.  I guarantee that if Hermes (or any other French instiution) was going to act out of racial motivation, they would have assuredly done so toward more than just Africans.  You are mistaken if you don't think a group of white people talking Italian or a group of anyone even slightly cocoa colored talking Spanish, Arabic or anything else wouldn't be viewed with skepticism.   They are also, given our treatment of their country lately, very unlikely to be openly hospitable to someone they know is a rich American, or a poor American,f or that matter.  The French have a lot going for them, but they aren't known for their politeness, especially to outsiders.        

Lastly, I'm from Detroit.  I don't need a lecture on race relations, and you were very presumptous to assume that I wouldn't have any experiences in non-white establishments.  I shop in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic stores all the time, and sometimes I have pleasant expereinces, and sometimes I don't.  If I go into the Korean market with my Asian friend, we are looked at with horror, as though we are going to go conceive a mixed race child in their frozen foods section.  The English translation for the Chinese term used to define a white person is "white devil," for goodness sake.  As I said, racism and skeptcism affect us all, and you are correct in saying to varying degrees, but it is not the white man constantly seeking to beat down the black man, as it seems to be argued so often.      

As a white person, who has worked in retail, I find it very offensive the conclusion seemingly reached that all, or a majority of us are out to nab black people.  I can assure you I spent much more time following around creepy white guys and unruly white skater teenagers than I ever did worrying about any black people.  I very much doubt that everytime you go to the grocery store you are followed around by detectives, and if you are, you really need to reevaluate where you shop.  Maybe try Marshall Field's or KMart instead of the "white man's store."  

skepticism but not rudeness.  We are in a new era of EU open borders.  Have you actually been to France?  French nationalism as a construct is in part based on the imaginary of the French social pact.  It is not for some reason that the slight tan Nicolas Sarkozy stands a good chance of becoming the next French president even though he is the decendent of immigrants.  The question is to what extent race colors the perceived boundaries of citizenship.  Doubtful that you will get any "French" person to claim the statesman Senghor or Cesaire as French, despite their long residence in the country.

What rudeness?  Oprah was the one who was rude.  The store politely told her they were closed, were setting up for a private event, and gave her a CARD to come back the next day!  That seems pretty damn nice to me!  It's more than I would expect being a middle class white guy.  

The French were, are, and probably always will be skeptical of anyone who isn't French.  My point was that I don't think they would single out an African American woman for discrimination anymore than they would a white American, or an Arab, or anyone else they currently have a problem with.  The open borders provided by the EU have not made the average Frenchman very happy, and in fact, has made them worried about being overtaken by Turkish immigrants seeking employment.  
In the end, however, it doesn't even matter, because according to the actual evidence avaiable, Hermes didn't discriminate against Oprah.  She tried to trade on her celebrity status and it didn't work out (this time).  Moving on...  

I would agree with you that they would single out Arabs and Africans-- it isn't for nothing that French persons of Arab heritage started a whole antiracist movement in the 80s or that the French have been accused of using the rhetoric of laicité to discriminate against Muslims.  Read my posts regarding "whites."
At the end of the day it matters just like it matters to your people  :o-- kidding by the way, that OJ got off.  BP and Mobell have hit the nail on the head, it is a matter of perception.  Frankly both sides are picking the elements they like and are hammering away.  You haven't seen the video; most of the black people on board haven't spoken to Oprah, but deep down we know what we know.

angelus

  • Guest
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #105 on: June 23, 2005, 06:03:09 PM »
I'd love to see comments on BP's question.

I'll also point out that no one thinks Oprah's situation is equal to the problem of world hunger or anything.  Seriously.  There are a lot of things that make me wonder why they get so much airtime - i.e Natalie Holloway, Billy Graham's last crusade, Prince William's graduation...  Why is it SO annoying to hear Oprah getting a piece of the action?  Is this now a discussion about the press?

OH YES!!! Let's talk about the press. Notice how many children are kidnapped and types are kidnapped versus the ones the media focuses on?? ARUBA. Heavy black population...blond, blue eyed, white girl disappears. Media focuses on this because it feeds into the stereotypes of people.

The black as exotic, dangerous, foreign, sensual, primal, sexy.

The white girl as innocent, virginal, pure, defenseless, sexless.

The 1950's mentality still exists in many places....lynchings may not happen anymore but we can only geuss how many parents would freak if their kid was marrying a black person. There's also a great deal of sociological and cultural variants that fit into this.

twarga

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3516
  • Must have cookie! Me like cookie!
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #106 on: June 23, 2005, 06:12:00 PM »
At the end of the day it all boils down to Oprah not getting special treatment after closing time at a high-end store.  It's a terrible tragedy, of course, but I'll do the best I can to still get to sleep tonight.
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=twarga

Attending:  Widener DE $$$
Accepted:  Rutgers-Camden, Villanova, Temple
Rejected:  Penn, Harvard

3.0 (3.82), 166

jdohno

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #107 on: June 23, 2005, 06:26:41 PM »
At the end of the day it all boils down to Oprah not getting special treatment after closing time at a high-end store.  It's a terrible tragedy, of course, but I'll do the best I can to still get to sleep tonight.

A part of me does have to agree with you after reading this full article from AP.

French Luxury Store Apologizes to Oprah 1 hour, 41 minutes ago
 

The luxury store Hermes has apologized to Oprah Winfrey for turning her away from one of its Paris boutiques last week, saying it was closed for a public relations event when she came knocking.

The talk-show host and "an entourage" unsuccessfully tried to enter an Hermes boutique on Paris' posh Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore at 6:45 p.m. on June 14, Hermes said in a statement.

"People were in the store and they were shopping. Oprah was at the door and she was not allowed into the store," Gayle King, a friend of Winfrey who witnessed the incident, told syndicated TV show "Entertainment Tonight." "Oprah describes it herself as `one of the most humiliating moments of her life.'"

King said it's unlikely that Winfrey will shop there again. "She's really OK. Her position is, `I will shop where people appreciate my business, and I don't believe that any longer includes Hermes,'" King said.

The store's normal closing time is 6:30 p.m., although high-end shops are known to make exceptions for celebrities. On that particular night, however, "a private public relations event was being prepared inside," the statement from Hermes said.

"Hermes regrets not having been able to welcome Madame Oprah Winfrey and the people accompanying her to give them all the attention and service that Hermes is committed to giving each of its clients in the world," said the statement, released Tuesday. "Hermes expresses its sincere regrets for any misunderstanding that these circumstances could have caused."

A spokeswoman for Winfrey's Chicago-based Harpo Productions told The Associated Press Thursday the talk-show host plans to discuss her "Crash" moment when "The Oprah Winfrey Show" returns to the air in September.

"Crash" is a film dealing with race relations.


Rudy Huckleberry

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3144
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #108 on: June 23, 2005, 06:30:19 PM »
Hey y'all, racial issue or not - how much you wanna bet that clerk and manager are in TROUBLE...?  The CEO is prolly going to chew them out for allowing this kind of publicity to be generated.

twarga

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3516
  • Must have cookie! Me like cookie!
    • View Profile
Re: Shopping While Black--- Doesn't matter if you are a billionaire
« Reply #109 on: June 23, 2005, 06:31:12 PM »
And the minute she opens her mouth about her 'crash' experience, Hermes should sue her ass off for libel and slander!  And those 'shoppers' in the store were probably employees setting up for the event and not really shoppers at all.  Oprah's just embarassed that someone didn't bow to her highness and wants to make it about something it's not.

How much do you want to be that her lawyers advise her against opening her fat mouth about it next season... either that or face another beef/cattleman fiasco.
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=twarga

Attending:  Widener DE $$$
Accepted:  Rutgers-Camden, Villanova, Temple
Rejected:  Penn, Harvard

3.0 (3.82), 166