General Etiquette > Etiquette of the Rich and Famous

Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag

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--- Quote ---I haven't seen a single poster say that the car salesmen are in the right to treat potential customers like that, so why is it ok for a retail salesperson to treat someone that way?

--- End quote ---

Good point. Maybe because it was Oprah and the implication was that it was racial.

I don't think people are saying it was necessarily okay to be rude, but that it couldn't have happened the way Oprah said and if it did there must be a good excuse.

gramma dishes:

--- Quote from: Shoo on August 27, 2013, 01:10:55 PM ---
--- Quote from: Sharnita on August 27, 2013, 01:05:15 PM ---If that is exactly what she said.

--- End quote ---

Yes.  And that's a pretty big "if" in my opinion.

--- End quote ---

Agreed.  And the salesperson in question says that is not what she actually said.


--- Quote from: Slartibartfast on August 26, 2013, 11:57:58 PM ---
--- Quote from: Jones on August 26, 2013, 09:02:42 PM ---As a side note, because I'm on ground I'm not entirely comfortable with. The sales assistant is from Italy, I don't think they have the same problems with racism as America does, do they? Anti-Semitism, yes, but I don't know that I've read about any other racism. I will admit I'm not a specialist on any sort of recent Italian history, though.

--- End quote ---

I don't know about Italy specifically, but national attitudes can definitely affect people's subconscious first impressions and how they're based on race.  Here in the US, people with darker skin are statistically more likely to have a lower income and a lower education level than people with lighter skin are.  There are local pockets where that's different, of course - being of Asian descent in Chinatown versus in Silicon Valley, for example - but in terms of raw numbers the difference is there.  And that carries through into people's perceptions, despite affirmative action and open-mindedness and embracing diversity and everything else.  So I would assert that most Americans would have a different impression of a dark-skinned and a light-skinned shopper even if they wore the same clothes. Many Americans would then try to correct for that bias, of course, but that doesn't mean the bias isn't still there.

That's not necessarily the case in other countries, where the socioeconomic makeup is distributed differently among races.  I was struck by how, when I was in France, the people in the rattiest clothes on the subway seemed to be in about an even racial distribution with everyone else.  That's definitely not the case where I live  :-\

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Please don't make these kinds of broad statements about how most Americans think. I find that statement disturbing and not at all true of "most Americans."

I agree, gollymolly2.  The (bolded) is reminiscent of South Africa under apartheid.  <shudder>

I think we're done here.


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