*It’s not often that we see Oprah Winfrey wince, so to speak, when she’s faced with criticism. Lately, however, she’s been showing signs of being vulnerable.
A couple of weeks ago she backed out of a #MeToo documentary that spotlighted alleged sexual abuses by media mogul Russell Simmons.
Now she’s taking a different tack now that she’s received tons of criticism for adding “American Dirt” to her book club list. The novel came out on Jan 21, but before it did, it had already sparked controversy.
“American Dirt“ tells the story of a woman who has to escape the violence and dangers in Mexico and flea to the United States with her son. Winfrey claims the book had an impact on her from the first sentence. However, many in the Latinx community took issue with the piece and its author, Jeanine Cummins, who isn’t Mexican.
That information was relayed to Oprah Winfrey and now she’s making changes on how the book will be approached.
Yesterday (01-27-20) she made this announcement on the book club’s Instagram page:
“There’s been a lot of talk about this book lately. And I just wanted you all to hear directly from me that I read an advanced copy of ‘American Dirt’ last summer before it was even an official book. And it was a visceral experience for me; a migrant’s story told from a mother’s perspective about the lengths she would go to to protect her child, to get to freedom in America. I was deeply moved. It had me riveted from the very first sentence, and I could hardly wait to share it with all of you.”
Oprah said she’s had a change of heart based on the reactions she’s experienced.
“Now, it has become clear to me from the outpouring, may I say, of very passionate opinions, that this selection has struck an emotional chord and created a need for a deeper, more substantive discussion. So when I first started to hear your comments opposing the selection, I was asking the question, in earnest, ‘What is offensive?’ I’ve spent the past few days listening to members of the Latinx community to get a greater understanding of their concerns. And I hear them, I do.”
Here’s her solution:
“bring people together from all sides, to talk about this book. And who gets to publish what stories, and I’m hoping that that is going to resonate with many of you and your concerns.”
The discussion will air on Apple+ TV in March.
“I think it’s gonna allow us to open up the conversation in unexpected and, I really hope, meaningful ways.”