Dear O Magazine

A few years ago after visiting my daughter, I was heading to the airport to return home when I realized that I had no reading material. Rachelle’s roommate offered me her copy of O, Oprah’s monthly magazine. I probably would never have picked this magazine up on my own and I had never seen an Oprah show, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my surprise, the quality of writing was impressive and the range of topics notably wider than in most women’s magazines. I began reading it regularly. Aside from many well-written and interesting articles, I appreciated getting a window into the Oprah phenomenon which has had so much influence on our society. While many of my own views are completely opposed to those espoused by the magazine, reading it helps me understand what ideas are shaping so many women’s attitudes. I also find, to O’s credit, that it is not monolithic in its approach and sometimes unexpectedly presents views sympathetic to traditional values. Almost every issue has something which I appreciate as well as something which makes me squirm, but this October, I was so appalled at what I read that I sent off a letter to the editor. It was not published, so I am using this venue to share it.

Dear O,

Over the years, I have mostly enjoyed getting O. On more than one occasion, however, I was disturbed by the bigotry which the magazine promoted. I kept letting it slide, but the October magazine moved me to write.

In the October issue Donna Brazile said, “Conservative businessmen don’t generally pay a lot of attention to middle-aged black women.” Which conservative businessmen did Ms. Brazile mean? The ones I know who use their annual vacations to help build orphanages in Africa and S. America? The ones who spearhead their local Rotary and Lion’s clubs, helping not only their own communities but ones around the globe? Perhaps she meant those who donate to and fundraise for charities such as Fisher House, which helps many middle-aged black women whose sons have been injured in military service for their country? Or the thousands of conservative businessmen who work diligently and with no guarantee of success to provide products that improve the lives of middle-aged black women and others? Was she smearing an entire group for the actions of a few men she has met? Isn’t that one of the definitions of prejudice?

This is only one example of many over the years. It is easy to call for others to be more open-minded but it is hard to see our own flaws. The liberal community in America falls prey to this difficulty. More Americans classify themselves as conservative than they do as liberal, but in some industries including much of the media and academia finding a conservative is like searching for the perfect diet – futile. Instead of trying to understand those whose political values differ, there tends to be a tendency to consider conservative voters either stupid or evil. Too often, a smug and self-congratulatory attitude predominates, which hampers us from reaching goals which would actually help everyone in society.

I am regularly appalled at the widespread bigotry against conservatives and businessmen, especially those who are Christian (I am Jewish). It would be great if Oprah magazine could examine itself, admit its own biases and commit to change.


Susan Lapin


10 thoughts on “Dear O Magazine”

  1. Dear Susan, thank you for speaking up so very eloquently, for all us ladies.
    I ‘ve often found myself so upset by these kinds of articles, & being frustrated as to what to say back…I just walk away never to purchase, or spend an penny on such things again.
    But- I really want to speak up, & say something…. But I don’t have facts. Just some very nice, people I know. I don’t know people who run big business. I’m so glad you know these facts. =-)
    ….And thank you for your time, to listen to the Ruach Ha Kodesh, & to write to the magazine.
    You are an inspiration. God bless you & keep you.
    Sincerely, Trina

  2. Coming from one who’s been a conservative and a businessman for all of my adult life, we’re the only group of people in the western world for whom it has been open season as far back as I can remember. There’s no license fee and no bag limit. The good news is, we’re pushing back a little bit of late. And the Donna Braziles of the world know it. That’s why they’ve ratcheted up the rhetoric in 2011. But they’re not going to cow this genie back into the bottle. They can get us fired, we’ll find a better job. They can steal our ideas, we’ll out smart ’em again. And they know it (ha!). By the way, I did watch one episode of Opra. It was the Ralph Lauren and family interview. I enjoyed it very much, only because Mr. Lauren is one of my heros. I’m afraid though, that I’ll have to skip her magazine. I’d rather spend my time re-reading Buried Treasure for the fourth time by Rabbi . . . what’s his name? . . oh yeah . . that would be my rabbi, the wonderful Daniel Lapin.

  3. I am blessed to learn from your wisdom, Susan. I agree with your letter. Thank you for confronting the issue.

  4. Come on, Susan, what do you expect the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (this spring, at least) to say? Her job is to malign the easy target of “conservative businessmen,” those eeeevil, selfish hoarders of wealth who don’t want to give up even a sliver of their giant majority of “the pie.” Tax the rich! Spread the wealth! There are a lot more low wage-earners than “conservative businessmen,” and that’s how you appeal to them, with the politics of envy. THEIR view is that wealth is finite; OUR view is that wealth can continue to be created by resourceful, industrious people. THEY see a limited world where death is the end; WE see a world of endless possibilities that continues beyond the tangible.

  5. Ditto! Donna Brazile belongs to the predominantly liberal club that dominates the popular media. Not much we can do but pray?…..confront?…..get into the club?

  6. Completely agree. I have been offended by her magazine as well on many occasions and cancelled the subscription I was gifted. Good for you writing the letter, very well stated.

  7. I am so grateful for this message but I am affraid they will only respond to a cancellation of the subscription.I wish Amercians would understand that organizations realy only change when it hits thier bottom line.
    thank you for all of your continued wisdom.

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