Dissing Oprah: How Race And Size Bias Affect Business

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Oprah Winfrey addresses reporters in Pasadena, Calif. (AP)
Oprah Winfrey addresses reporters in Pasadena, Calif. (AP)

Oprah Winfrey's story of discrimination has sparked much discussion about how racism plays into retail bias.

Oprah told Entertainment Tonight that she was visiting a high-end store in Zurich, Swizerland, and the sales assistant refused to show her a $38,000 handbag.

The Guardian's economics editor Heidi Moore wrote a piece in response called, "Oprah faced not just fashion retail racism, but size bias too."

"When people judge our status — how much we are able to spend, where we are in the social order — they look at our weight, especially for women," Moore told Here & Now. "And black women who are of size tend to be seen as lower in socioeconomic status. And obviously all of these markers are unjust — they can be wrong."

Moore says businesses are losing out by judging women based on their size.

"Businesses are really being ignorant about giving up the amount of business they could get from people — from women in particular — who are above a size 10, and who have that money to spend and are willing to spend it, but are often discouraged because they are told that they are not of the right image," Moore said.


This segment aired on August 12, 2013.


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