On my Sunday radio show, from time to time we get a white caller who has the temerity to tell my co-host, Cicely Philpot, and me what black folks have the right to be upset about in America. We always roundly castigate the individuals, informing them that their position is the height of white, racist privilege. How dare a white person even attempt to define how blacks view a situation, incident or case of historical racism and disenfranchisement?
But, alas, I’ve been just as guilty of attempting to defend comments that I made about recently fallen White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. I wrote on a short Facebook post that she was Trump’s “bed-wench,” and when a number of women bristled at that term, characterizing it as misogynistic, I attempted to defend my use of it. I was wrong, and for that I’m deeply sorry.
I can no more attempt to tell women what’s offensive to them, than a white person can tell blacks what we should or should not find offensive. Indeed, that’s the height of offensiveness itself.
My goal, via a series of postings, was to annihilate Omarosa, to hound her off the national stage … and I still consider that a worthwhile mission. But I should have accomplished it in another manner, one that wasn’t so offhanded, caviler and sloppily worded. I shall now attempt to repair the error of my ways.
It all starts with the job Trump created for his long-time “friend.”
According to a New York Times article, “Until Tuesday, Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former contestant on Trump’s The Apprentice, was the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. It supposedly was not clear — even to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — what her responsibilities were exactly. But Manigault Newman saw herself as a link between the president and black Americans.”
This is where the joke begins. Omarosa never has had any respect within the black community on any level, and especially in the halls of Congress. She repeatedly refused to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Another part of her “portfolio” as she liked to call it, was to oversee outreach efforts related to improving funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), something she failed miserably at accomplishing — and blacks close to the situation question if she ever made even the slightest effort.
But her failures were part of Trump’s overall strategy of putting people in positions with the complete understanding that they would do more harm than good, if they did anything at all. He placed Ben Carson at the head of HUD, a field in which he has no experience, and the results have been predictable: HUD is now hurting families instead of helping them. Meanwhile Carson laughs when asked about his performance.
Over at the Department of the Interior Trump placed Ryan Zinke in charge. Zinke is a former congressman from Montana who frequently voted in opposition to environmentalists on issues such as mountain-top coal extraction, and oil and gas drilling. He received a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. His goal at Interior is to weaken protections of lands (including tribal lands) that have been in place for years, all in the name of the Great God Profit.
Trump plays this political shell game with other appointments too, but Omarosa is the only black female that willingly goes along with this con job.
Again, quoting the NYT article, “When the president blamed ‘both sides’ for the violence that led to the death of a counter protester during a rally held by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Manigault Newman came to the president’s side on Fox News before pivoting to mention that former president Barack Obama did not criticize violence she said was at the hands of Black Lives Matter activists.” For most blacks this was the last straw.
Nonetheless, a group I belong to, the National Association of Black Journalists, allowed her to come on stage to speak (in spite of the fact she was not on the agenda) at our most recent convention in New Orleans — which turned into a complete debacle. The president had recently stated that police should break the law by “roughing up” suspects as they were being taken into custody. However, when asked about the remark by the moderator, Omarosa danced all around answering the question, and when further pressed, she stormed off the stage in a huff, claiming she was being disrespected.
But this is typical for Omarosa. Nothing stops her from lying — nothing. The day after she was booted out of the White House, she told Good Morning America host Michael Strahan that the Trump administration’s actions toward black Americans were “upsetting” and “uncomfortable” to her. It appears that now she wants to quickly rehabilitate her image in the eyes of black folk … and we’re supposed to be stupid enough to allow her to get this shit off. Not.
Angela Rye, the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said Wednesday on CNN: “Bye honey! You have never represented the community. You are ‘skin’ folk [meaning she’s not ‘kin’ folk]. We don’t own you … Goodbye and good riddance.”
Well said; all I can add is that Omarosa Manigault Newman is a slimy, despicable offscouring who should be shunned as if she has the plague or some other deadly contagious disease.