You’ve of course seen the media blitz by now. Oprah Winfrey, black superstar, the only black billionaire in the world, refused service in a Zurich boutique. The shop owner, Trudie Goetz, dismissed the whole fiasco as a ‘misunderstanding’. It was. She just didn’t think that a black woman could afford to pay $40000 for a handbag. She was right in her own twisted way. Black people are not the demographic that she expected, could walk into a boutique in the area that is known to be the most expensive shopping district in the world. A handbag similar to the one in question is pictured below…
Switzerland is a notoriously racist place. They have a far right political party that is allowed by Swiss law to display posters which look like this….
Several towns in Switzerland have passed segregation laws that restrict certain areas like libraries and restaurants from refugees. They explain it away, well supported by their white citizenry, that they want to protect refugees from physical harm. They believe, like the Germans, that their post WW2 education taught them all there is to know about racism. Its a phenomenon common to most of Europe actually. So, rather than acknowledge it exists, they will deflect it, claiming they cannot possibly be racist because they had it all drummed into them in school. And then they will immediately change the conversation to how things are so much “worse” in the US.
I am not saying that racism doesn’t exist in North America. It does, but America and Canada are nations that are struggling with it, admitting it and trying hard to change. There is a vast majority of upstanding, right thinking white folk there, who may not be very regular at church like the Italians or the French are but they follow the true faith much closer. Somewhere in that back room in their minds, there is a conscience at work and at least once in a while they listen. Can you imagine Switzerland, Italy or Germany with a black Prime Minister / Chancellor? You can, when it’s the US, can’t you? Why not? It just happens to be a fact. The US is the only you-can-make-anything-happen place in the world. Italy just got an African-Italian cabinet minister and they were throwing bananas at her inside the f—in’ parliament.
If you think that the Swiss themselves are losing any sleep over this media storm, you’re mistaken. I’m sure there are plenty of Swiss who privately think, “Good. Maybe fewer schwartzen will come here.” I understand the way the Swiss mind works, just like those precision watches they make… It’s a simple line of thought and goes this way….” if I’ve completely pissed off all the super-rich black folks of the world, I’ve lost the custom of a few hundred American entertainers and athletes and a handful of African dictators and their families. F—k them. A couple of Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs shall take the slack, no sweat”. Zurich doesn’t give a crap about you, Oprah.
Switzerland is a criminal enterprise that is hidden in plain sight. The world’s largest no-questions-asked repository for ill-gotten gains, money snatched the world over by crooked politicos and bureaucrats, from the common man’s taxes, it has prospered by perfecting the art of playing both sides, be it during the 2nd World War or the cold war, making itself out to be some kind of an oasis of neutrality. It has managed to package itself with its Red Cross and its chocolates to look like a lovable place.
Now, imagine you’re a Kanjivaram Silk saree emporium owner in Laxmi Road in Pune, Maharashtra, India. At home, you have a ‘mather’ named Leela, , a toilet cleaner from an untouchable caste, who is admitted in only after your wife has lifted all the door curtains out of her way, so they won’t touch her person by chance, when she transits to the toilet from your kitchen door. She comes from a long line of mathers. Her mother was a mather and her mother and hers. So I won’t ask you how your mather feels every time you make her feel dirty and unworthy. She feels nothing. She has grown to believe this is what life is, that this is her place in life. Leela knows no better.
We are all racists, all bigots, make no mistake about it. What redeems us, saves us from the brink, is our consciences. Having said this, here’s a personal experience that I had after I came to Canada and it’s my pleasure to share with you……