No Good Deed
....goes unpunished. Or at least that's what an old friend of ours used to say. I thought he was just being cynical, but every so often events occur which cause his words to flood back to my memory.
The criticism of Oprah Winfrey is one such case. Oprah has lavishly built and outfitted a school for extremely underprivileged but potential-filled girls in South Africa, spending $40 million of her own money. So what's to criticize? Apparently some in the peanut gallery don't like her extravagance or her decision to help girls in another country.
Hellooo?? It's her money. To her naysayers, I say: when you become that rich, feel free to build a school anywhere you like.
Her critics have especially pounced on a statement she made in Newsweek.
"Say what you will about the American educational system--it does work," she says. "If you are a child in the United States, you can get an education." And she doesn't think that American students--who, unlike Africans, go to school free of charge--appreciate what they have. "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she says. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."Is her statement untrue? Granted, it's a generalization, but this is her experience with kids in the U.S. and quite frankly it's been the experience of many teachers and volunteers also. Of course there are exceptions, but Oprah has already given to many poor in the U.S. to help them receive an education through scholarship funds. If she wants to help poor people elsewhere also, what business is that of anyone else?
Way to go, Oprah.
Technorati tags: Oprah, school, charity,South Africa