Stuff Black People Don’t Like makes a brilliant exposure of the appeal of Oprah Winfrey-
The figure of the Numinous Negro- a wise black person who provides spiritual guidance to a troubled white character- is common in the media of the last 70 years. The Numinous Negro is almost always male, though, and so Oprah avoids appearing to be this somewhat tedious character. Black people love the Numinous Negro but get kind of tired of the black person as beloved second fiddle.
Oprah is a female version, who provides a low level of explicit guidance- the guidance is very gentle, more gentle even than the guidance of the male Numinous Negro, and much more implicit- and much more empathetic support, like a black female domestic would have. Oprah’s genius- we must admit she is a true genius, her popularity is no fluke- is to make her empathy a directive force. Influencing people primarily with empathy is an amazing act of emotional ju-jitsu.
And yet Oprah was not a positive force. She did not use her powers only for good, as we would expect a superhero to swear; she used them to sell crappy books. The HBD community generally insists negritude is a malign force foisted upon us by socialists, but like the black athlete, the Numinous Negro/Negress is just another consumer product. Any con man will tell you the con works because the mark wants it to be true. Any the American consumer wants to believe in the Numinous Negro almost as much as he wants to believe in Santa Claus. Santa Claus is real, on some deep metaphorical level; but then Santa Claus is white.