On Thursday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker, stars of Oscar-bait The Butler. During the interview, in which Cooper thoughtfully nodded as Winfrey and Whitaker race-baited, Oprah suggested Emmitt Till and Trayvon Martin were equivalent symbols, and that Americans were racist even if they didn’t have ill will toward black people. When Cooper cited polls showing that black Americans were upset about Trayvon Martin and whites thought too much had been made of the case, Oprah sighed, “Oh, I know, I know. That’s why I love the film in light of this discussion is because it brings context to this discussion. I mean, look at the film, beginning with that lynching scene and ending with walking into Obama’s office, look at what has happened in the span of one man’s lifetime.”
Whitaker chimed in, “This movie reminds us of the circular motion of things still trying working themselves is going on, as in Emmitt Till, and we’re looking at Trayvon, we’re looking at Oscar Grant, we’re looking at all these situations and recognizing we have to move ourselves forward with this change.” Oprah said, “Emmitt Till became a symbol for those times as Emmitt Till has become a symbol for this time. I mean, there are multiple Trayvon Martins whose names never make the newspapers or the headlines. The circumstances surrounding that allowed that to be. There were multiple Emmitt Tills, there were multiple lynchings, there were multiple young black boys whose names are not remembered and often not even recorded.”
Cooper asked, “It’s amazing to me how people from different backgrounds see this.” He then talked about a juror “who did not understand, did not feel linked to Trayvon Martin, felt connected to George Zimmerman in a way, but not Trayvon Martin, she felt race was not part of this case at all.” Oprah couldn’t wait to jump in, blurting, “People don’t feel it’s race because people don’t call it race…A lot of people think if they think they’re not using the n-word themselves, they physically aren’t using the n-word themselves, and do not harbor ill will towards black people that it’s not racist. But to me it’s ridiculous to look at that case and not to think that race was involved.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).