Oprah Winfrey gave her frank take on the state of racism in America and how the U.S. has evolved as a country in an interview promoting the British release of her recent film, Lee Daniels’ the Butler.
“It would be foolish to not recognize that we have evolved, in that we’re not still facing the same kind of terrorism against black people en masse,” she said in her interview with BBC Arts Correspondent Will Gompertz.
“Are there still places where people are terrorized because of the color of their skin, because of the color of their black skin? Yes,” she added. “But there are laws that have allowed us to progress beyond what we saw in The Scottsboro Boys and beyond the – even prejudice that we see in the Butler.”
But Winfrey insisted that the problem would not be solved until older Americans with more racist tendencies die off.
“As long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved,” she said, adding,“There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it – in that prejudice and racism – and they just have to die.”
She also took on the manner in which President Obama has been treated in office.
“Just the level of disrespect – when the senator yelled out ‘you’re a liar,’ remember that?” she said, presumably refering to the instance in which Rep. Joe Wilson shouted the words “You lie!” at the president while he was addressing a joint session of Congress.
“I think there’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs, and that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African-American,” she said.