"American critics don't bat an eye at white hotel heiresses dancing on banquettes, or reality shows about sweet-16 parties at budgets that could build a home for a Katrina victim. But impoverished black girls sleeping on nice-ish sheets? That didn't go over so well." -- Interesting Salon piece on Oprah's thrashing in the press for the deluxe accommodations at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy she financed in South Africa. While most can agree that Oprah deserves praise for spending $40 million of her own dollars on this project, there's been some backlash about the embroidered sheets, yoga studio, and designer bathroom tiles that enhance the boarding school atmostphere. To which I have to say, fuck that noise -- I've been on plenty of private school campuses, serving kindergarteners to PhD students, and if there was outcry over every bowling alley, study abroad program, or squash court paid for by a wealthy donor for the betterment of those lucky few attendees, the playgrounds of academia would come crashing down. I think Oprah's right about the inspirational power of beauty (though I don't necessarily see a more expensive item as more beautiful, as she seems to), and she is giving these girls a hefty dose, along with the harsh but necessary life lesson that if you work hard AND get a few lucky breaks in life, you can succeed. Plenty of kids get it all handed to them every day, without the "lesson" angle. Why shouldn't these girls get lucky too? So I quote one of the commenters, "Go Oprah, screw the haters!"

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