Why Is My Face Up for Debate?

Why Is My Face Up For Debate?

Art by Zhang Lu
Art by Zhang Lu

So, I’m catching up on my FB feed and I see this laughable, preposterous post from a so-called media professional, Elizabeth Lauten, slamming first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama during a White House ceremony.

She wrote on Facebook: “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class.

“At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”

Really?! This sorry broad is a Congressional communications director, and is proof positive that black girls/women are under scrutiny for simply being.  Now before I continue, let me also just point out Lauten is just erroneous.  Check the video, y’all (Around 4:445 is where Malia and Sasha are back in the frame):

Now I ask you…what did those young women do to deserve scathing, hurtful and downright ugly remarks for Lauten? Nothing that’s what.  It’s infuriating because this happens to so many women of color DAILY.  Constant criticism, assessment, analysis and judgment by White folks.  Sizing us up…navigating and rationalizing your unfounded fears with what you ignorantly identify as my attitude, my negativity, and MY problem.  I’ve shifted from talking about Sasha and Malia to using the possessives of “I” and “us” and “we” because I know this as my truth.  I must express how tired this whole “You can be really intimidating” thing has grown.  Insinuating that a black woman’s presence is threatening drives the behaviors that keep us out of power positions, and campaigns against our very presence in society.

Why does darker skin equate fear to you, little Lizzy? Let me hip you to the truth (although I suspect this lies already lies deep in your conscience):

We are grace.

We are wisdom.

And yes, we are strong and power and freedom and swag and love and sex and yearning and bliss. So fuck what you fear cuz it ain’t my problem.

I reject your assertion that if I’m not smiling I’m mad.  You simply don’t have the power to define my feelings for me. Privilege got you on some sick shit, and I’m here with a big spoonful of get right for that ass. The fact that you even thought you had an invitation or right to speak on, and judge young women who have been nothing but respectful and lovely suggests you have deep heart and spirit work to do.  Going after kids, Liz?  You trifling, hateful shrew.  What does “classy” look like, Elizabeth?  Does it look like you at 17 when you were arrested after shoplifting?

Focus on re-establishing some semblance of a career after your well-warranted resignation.  Search yourself for the root of this passive aggressive racist behavior.  Deny your racialized mindset in lieu of a more just, human way of being in this world.  And simply recognize your responsibility to lift up other women instead of replicating the complacent, arrogant entitlement that breeds your fuckery.  If you are moved to share your criticism and ill-informed recommendations for suitable behavior, share them with your own community.  As my grandmother says (a classy woman in her own right), sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around mine. 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s