Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Lady Depicted As A Partially Nude Slave

Althea Legal-Miller, Clutch Magazine wrote the following:
On newsstands across Spain, Michelle Obama can be seen gracing the August 2012 cover of Magazine Fuera de Serie, a lifestyle supplement to the newspaper Expansión. She is seated on a chair draped in the American flag, partially nude in slave attire, complete with one of Aunt Jemima’s chicer headscarves. Perhaps because it seems so obviously offensive, the mind attempts to rationalize; “Did this get lost in translation, or is this as racist as I think?"

When I saw the piece for myself, I couldn't decide whether I was more offended or hurt, whether I felt more violated or outraged, or whether I was more disgusted or dismayed. I felt bad for America in view of this insult to our First Lady and then I thought of all the pieces that have been shared here in our country that depict President and Mrs. Obama in similar racist modes. I won't hang my head down and neither will Barack and Michelle Obama. Each of us will continue to do the more important work of citizenship, staying focused on the 2012 Election, and determined to contribute to our nation in every way possible. I will remember that I've faced worse and that they certainly have faced worse. I'll remember that our First Lady is a "Phenomenal Woman" just as Maya Angelou describes her and that we will be encouraged and we will rise just as she penned in her poem "Still I Rise":

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

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