|The Zurich store where they told Lady O where to park it|
Miss O - how many billion dollars is she worth again?
But this is not the issue - whether she can or cannot afford the bag.
Besides not knowing her customer was one of the most powerful and richest persons in the universe, the salesclerk clearly made an assumption based on the customer's appearance, and whether it was her race, or what she was wearing, that is just not cool. It happens right here as well. People make assumptions about you based on your ethnicity - whether you are black, white, Asian - there is always something that is ascribed to you because of your race.
This is a global news story because of the person it happened to, but it happens to a lot of us. I would tend to agree with Miss O that she was discriminated against because she was black. The shop owner's reasoning that it was a mere "misunderstanding" is insulting. Even worse, when she says Miss O was treated badly because the salesclerk did not recognise her. That makes it right?? So if she knew it was Oprah, she would have let her see the bag? What about if I - non-billionaire, average black global citizen - walked into this store? I would be chased out? Seriously!
Having experienced subtle and not so subtle racial antagonism on my most recent vacation, where for example, a bus driver in Rome refused to let me on a bus out of pure spite, I can relate to what Miss O endured. What is even more insulting is when people, in trying to brush off your personal experience and feelings after such an encounter, try to argue that you - black person - are "too sensitive", "not everything is about race", "sometimes you don't recognise you have a chip on your shoulder". These were some of the suggestions I got while trying to explain my feelings of humiliation and anger after such an encounter, by a well-meaning white person, who simply cannot understand and appreciate MY experience, in much the same way that I may not appreciate his.
|The handbag at the centre of it all|
It is sad that these types of experiences can sour your experience with a place. I met some of the best people in Rome but the few not-so-nice experiences threatened to sully my perception of the city because it is not just an attack on me, or on Oprah. It is an attack on a wide cross section of the global village - a village that often is not warm and welcoming to everyone living in it.
When not even my money can motivate you to not act hateful, then I have to completely re-evaluate my desire to visit your shop, your restaurant, your city or your country, because at the end of the day, my worth is more than golden, and if you cannot appreciate that, then I know where I can go. I don't think any of us, should subject ourselves to the ignorance and hatred of others, and we need to not just THINK about taking our worth back, but ACT on it.
And that girl was lucky anyone wanted to even see that handbag - black or not - cause the bag is fugly. I would not pay $38 for that, much less $38,000.