I love, First Lady Michelle Obama. God knows I do! But FUCK GOING HIGH!
Oh, joy. Another day and another White columnist telling Black people about themselves. First it was Beyonce and how she has set the bar too high for pregnant women and now it is how much money should be “enough” for Black people. Beyoncé can’t even enjoy her pregnancy , and now Barack Obama can’t even enjoy his money. Thank you, Ruth Marcus for your article, “Is $60 Million Really Not Enough For The Obamas?” In honor of your column, I feel it is my duty to send you and other journalists that have a problem with Obama’s finances a nice letter.
Dear (Some) White People,
Please know that when you judge
former President Barack Obama for how much money he is receiving for giving speeches, this is how you sound:
“Obama sure is acting like an uppity Negro. We gotta put this Negro back in his place. Who does this Negro think he is? We let that Negro become the President and now he wants to get grand. Walking around demanding money for his time and services. How dare this Negro demand the money that he is worth? We should go back to the days when we didn’t have to pay Negros anything. Who authorized this Negro to make the system work for him? Negro went to some Ivy League school probably because of “affirmative action”. Now, this Negro wants to get paid for giving speeches. You know it wasn’t too long ago we didn’t even let them read. Back in the day, we used to have Negros like Barack working for us. I sure do wish we could go back to the days when America was
racist I mean, great no, I really mean racist. I would put Barack back in a field and let’s see how his big fancy words work then. Negro probably thinks he’s too good for the field. Make him a house Negro. Let him shuck and jive for us. Use his big words to entertain us. Let him keep our records for us. The only time a Negro should be making money is when he is making it for us.”
Marcus states in her article, “I don’t begrudge the Obamas their reported $60-million-plus joint book deal, of which their publisher has said a “significant portion” will be donated to charity. That should leave plenty for the Obamas to live as luxuriously as they could want.”
Who are you to judge how much Barack Obama makes for giving speeches? Who are you to determine what amount of money is enough for The Obamas and the legacy they want to leave in this world? Who are you to monitor the type of lifestyle the Obamas should live?
When White people gained their wealth from slavery, no one said a word. When the blood money from slavery is still circulating and has built entire industries, no one cares. When entire industries are established to showcase plantation homes in the South, it’s fine. When White people leave generational wealth to their children, often gained off the backs of those they enslaved, no one complains, they make reality shows highlighting southern charm. When White people gained wealth by stealing land, it was all good. When White people acquired wealth by redlining communities only to go back into those communities and make money, tearing down projects and rebuilding homes, it’s fine. When White people do land grabs in low-income communities and gentrify the neighborhood, no one says anything. When White people make billions of dollars with subprime loans, this nation is silent. When White people bring down the financial industry only to get bailed out, it’s called, good business. When you vote a White man into the highest office in the land that is a billionaire, and he refuses to show his tax returns, the nation keeps right on going and in fact attempts to justify him NOT showing his tax returns. When former Presidents set up foundations, for the most part, the nation says nothing. When Ivy League institutions are given astronomical endowments by White people, it is fine. When White CEO’s are paid enormous bonuses, even when a company is failing, it is fine. When FOX News pays 25 million dollars to a man accused of sexual harassment, the nation as a whole doesn’t bat an eye.
Now all of a sudden, it is a problem. Now all of a sudden, “you don’t begrudge the Obama’s for their 60 million dollar book deal.” Oh really? Thank you so much, Ruth for not begrudging the Obama’s for getting paid 60 million dollars. I am sure the Obama’s are sleeping a little better tonight knowing that you are okay with their book deal.
While you may not believe your stance has anything to do with race, I beg to differ. Trust me, it is 100% about race. Because you are covering an issue about a Black man, who is no longer in office. Should the Obama’s contact you first before they decide to order a pizza to make sure that lines up with how you feel they should handle their income? Should the Obamas contact you first to make sure the lifestyle they are leading is in accordance with what you believe is enough for them?
Are you asking George Bush about his money? Are you asking him how much money he and his family makes? Have you asked them about their family wealth and Prescott Bush? How was that wealth obtained?
Better yet, here is an option, why don’t you focus your energy on asking Donald Trump about his money? Did he acquire every dollar ethically? How do you feel about the reported millions of dollars it costs to cover Trump golfing in Mar-a-Lago practically every weekend? I know, you can’t begrudge a President for wanting to golf every weekend at a place of business that he owns so essentially his business is making money every time he decides to go golfing, right? No problem with that, huh?
What about Eric Trump taking a trip to Uruguay to look over the family’s business interests which cost almost $100,000? The list is endless of where your attention could be focused if it was truly about politicians and money. If you want to speak about holding Barack Obama to a standard, what standard are you holding any of them to? It seems the “standard” only applies when we are discussing Barack Obama. As a matter of fact, I am curious, who sets the standard? You? Why do White people get the option to set the standard?
Now ya’ll want to start asking about money? Now ya’ll care? Now every dime any former President makes must fall under scrutiny? Now we must hold former presidents to a standard? What changed? Why now is this standard being set by White America? In a nation that prides itself on making money by any means necessary, what is different this time?
The only reason why it is an issue is because Barack Obama is Black. Give me a break. Get yo money Barack and don’t only get it, make it rain on these people!
Article Photos: Giphy
It is ironic that I write this blog on the evening that HBO is debuting the made for television movie about Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who, while being treated for cervical cancer, had her cells stolen to create the HeLa cell lines. While most cells eventually stop reproducing, Henrietta’s cells were what the medical field called an, “immortalized cell line”, in which her cells would reproduce indefinitely. Henrietta Lacks cells have been used in the research for cancer, AIDS, gene mapping, instrumental in the polio vaccination and to this day her cells are used in almost every molecular –biology lab. Henrietta Lacks cells have generated billions of dollars, yet the descendants of Henrietta Lacks have not fared as well financially. As is often the case when people steal from others.
Sadly, this is nothing new, since the beginning of time people have made a fortune stealing from minorities. Land, people, resources, music, ideas, culture, art, food, style…the list is practically endless.
Such is the case with the article by Dismas Sanfiorenzo that came out in OkayPlayer featuring a Chicago “artist” and “urban planner” that completed a “large mural of Michelle Obama that is located a few blocks from the former First Lady’s childhood home.” The mural is of Michelle Obama in green and gold royal African attire. A photo that I recall seeing floating around Facebook, so I surprised when reading the article that this “artist” was representing the work as if it was something that he conceptualized, when in fact, the artist is actually a talented young, Ethiopian female artist named Gelila Lila Mesfin who can be found on Instagram.
The “artist” that took Mesfin’s work stated in the dnainfo article, by Andrea V. Watson and Tanveer Ali, “I wanted to present her [Michelle Obama] as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate.”
Really? You were sitting at home and thought, “I want to depict Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen?” Really?