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Monday, February 12, 2007

Shame on Oprah? Shame on YOU!

(I know I am soooooo late on commenting on this. Work has been extremely busy the past few weeks, but I still wanted to blog about it. My passion about the subject won't die down just because the media isn't talking about it on the regular anymore...)

So I'm in Wal-mart and as I'm standing in the check-out line I see the Star/Globe/Us/WHATEVER magazine cover with the headline "Shame on you Oprah!"

If you didn't know. Last month Oprah spent $40 million to open up a school for girls in South Africa. An excerpt from one of the articles is below:

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"The idea for the school was born in 2000 at a meeting between Winfrey and Mandela. She said she decided to build the academy in South Africa rather than the United States out of love and respect for Mandela and because of her own African roots.

Many state-funded schools, especially in the sprawling townships that sprang up under white racist rule, are hopelessly overcrowded and lack even basic necessities such as books. They also are plagued by gang violence, drugs and a high rate of pregnancy among school girls.

Top-class study and sporting facilities are available, but are largely confined to private schools that are still dominated by the white minority as they are too expensive for many black and mixed race South Africans....

The 28-building campus boasts computer and science laboratories, a library and theater along with a wellness center.

Winfrey rejected suggestions that her school was elitist and unnecessarily luxurious.

“If you are surrounded by beautiful things and wonderful teachers who inspire you, that beauty brings out the beauty in you,” she said."

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First, they said her school was too luxurious. Then they said she needed to keep her money in America. After that, they said a school for girls would cause a separation problem between little boys and girls. Her critics did everything they could to take away from all the good she was trying to do.

Too lavish? Elitist? What is so wrong with these girls having nice things? Is a computer lab too lavish? A library? Why? Because they're African? After growing up with nothing, I doubt something like a theater (which is also another thing that we take for granted) will spoil them.

Oprah works hard for her money. Who do people feel the need to tell her how to spend it? Why criticize her for giving to those in need??

If there's anything her critics should be upset with, it is the US GOVERNMENT. They're the ones taking money out of our public schools and giving it to.... take your pick: the war, big business, anything OTHER than our kids.

The government has been saying for years that there isn't any extra money to allot to the states for distribution among public schools, but when Republicans get in office, extra money just APPEARS, but it still doesn't go to our kids.

When I was young I used to think that out-of-date books for predominately minority and poor schools was a thing of the past, but add a couple of years and some maturity, open your eyes and you'll see that our kids are STILL getting the short end of the stick. Overcrowded classrooms are really the least of our worries.

But like I said, blame the US Government, not Oprah. Leave her alone and let her be a blessing to those girls. Seeing her give selflessly has definitely been a blessing for me.