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Editorials

editorial | boutique prejudice

Oprah Winfrey wisely quiets a racial tempest

Oprah Winfrey showed her fabled wisdom in defusing the uproar this week over a Swiss store clerk who refused to show her a $38,000 handbag. With Swiss authorities expressing concern about the apparent racial slight, she quickly doused the flames. “That incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland,” Winfrey said. “I’m really sorry it got blown up.”

The billionaire entertainment icon didn’t back off her core point that people shouldn’t be judged by their looks, but added a necessary dose of perspective. “I’m in a store,” she said, “and the person doesn’t obviously know that I carry the black card” — an invitation-only American Express card for especially wealthy clients — “and so they made an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am.”

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