By Julianne Malveaux
I am no fan of Omarosa Manigault Newman, the mononymous diva who dominates the airwaves whenever she wants to. Her new book, “Unhinged,” which I won’t read, is billed as a tell-all on “45’s” White House and its shenanigans. In making the rounds, “Omierosie” (my nickname for her) has played tapes that seem to corroborate at least some of her allegations about “45.” More importantly, her tapes are evidence that the game captured the hunter. In other words, Omierosie took a page from 45’s book and trusted fewer people than even “45” did.
Now the 45-defense machine, led by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has gone out of its way to paint her as all kinds of liars. Surprise, surprise. And folks have run to the airwaves to suggest that the People’s House on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is inhabited entirely by liars. If you elect a clown, expect a circus. But this is more than a spectacle now; it is the systematic denigration of Black people and Black women that must be repudiated and rejected.
The dehumanization of Black people allowed whites to enslave us and then justify enslavement. The defeminization of Black women allowed White men to use us sexually, and shielded them, after enslavement from any consequences. Legally, it was almost impossible, until recently, to convict a White man of raping a Black woman. Recy Taylor’s rapists got away with it, and White women stood by them. Omierosie may be an integrity-challenged lowlife (that didn’t start with this book), but she is not a dog. Calling Omarosa a dog is a sly way of 45 trying to call her a b–ch, or a female dog. She is, as we all are, a terribly flawed human being. In naming her a dog, as in calling Congresswoman Maxine Waters “low IQ” is casting aspersion on all Black women.
The civil rights activist Ruby Sales addressed this on a Facebook post that bears sharing.
Ruby Sales’ Facebook post said: “Trump called Omarosa a dog. For younger folk let me break it down. His slander is laden with White Supremacist historical slander of Black women in a culture of White male rape and a reign of terror. Their assault against Black women extends back to captivity and enslavement in sites of terror in a strange land where we were hostages to the sexual whims of White men. Moreover, these men were also pedophiles who raped young Black girls.”
The Facebook post continued: “To justify their perverse behavior, desires and the colonization and invasion of the lives and body territory of Black girls and women, they slandered us as whores and immoral sexual predators whose sexual appetites know no limits. So when you sit quietly and allow Trump—no matter what you think about Omarosa—to call her a dog, you give him a pass to raise up the White smear of us that your older sisters went to the mat placing our lives on the line to end this culture.”
Omarosa isn’t the only former White House aide who has written about the dysfunctional White House. Sean Spicer did the same thing, yet he has not been called a dog. Instead, he was feted in Washington with a book party that actually charged an admission fee. No shade and no disparagement from the White House. Censure seems only to come when a Black woman is speaking her truth.
It is an interesting time to be an African-American woman. On the one hand, during this September month, we see eleven Black women gracing the covers of magazines. Beyoncé is on the cover of Vogue; Rihanna on the cover of British Vogue; Tracy Ellis Ross on the cover of Elle, Zendaya on the cover of Marie Claire; Issa Ray graces the cover of Ebony; actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish is on the cover of Glamour; Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover of Porte; and there are others who show up on smaller publications. In total, writes Joy Sewing, African-American women graced eleven magazine covers in the all-important September issues, the issues that often attract the most advertising and also set trends for the fall and the rest of the year. The Beyoncé cover for Vogue is especially impactful because Beyoncé used her influence and editorial direction to bring a young, Black man in as her photographer. It was the first time that an African-American was the cover photographer for Vogue magazine in its history.
On the one hand we are being celebrated, and on the other hand, we are being slammed. Commercial sensibilities are out of sync with the bigotry of this president, but can these commercial sensibilities be used to topple 45’s bigotry? Beyoncé brought a Black cover photographer to Vogue Magazine. Can her Bey-hive bring change to prevailing racist attitudes? Will the women who pick up these magazines send a strong message to the woman-hating, genital grabbing President? Omarosa may be a lot of things, Chump, but she is not your dog and neither are the rest of us!