Beloved by the masses, these stars’ ubiquitous fame affords them first-name only recognition.
Then, there is Omarosa.
Whether we like it or not, masses know her on a first name basis, too.
And this emerging fact makes her critics cringe.
Omarosa Manigault-Newman seems to be either loved or hated, with the latter trending in liberal media.
She has been on a fast-track of sealing her fate as a villainous icon, becoming someone people love to hate.
I question or disagree with select choices she makes, as they continue to play out in the public theatre. I doubt Omarosa will receive a BET Award, NAACP Image award or Woke awards from Black folks any time soon. Nevertheless, something gnaws at me about the Omarosa hate fest. I do not think Omarosa wears a 24/7 halo, but I have a problem with the media and public discourse involving all things Omarosa.
Putting someone down is a sure-fire, albeit unhealthy, technique to lift one’s spirits. And with Omarosa, many of us justify it, with an air of, “She deserves it.”
It is easy to create a narrow story about her identity, drawing from stereotypes. Don’t’ get me wrong, she has played up the villain role in reality television. But, remember-it is television, Folks. And Black people, the main ones who are quick to boycott and call out White people for any semblance of a racial transgression, have been all too happy to use a limited perspective in discussing the saga of Omarosa. The vitriol and enthusiasm since her departure from Trump’s administration, has been so weighty that I feel uneasy. When people over-react about an issue, I have learned that it points to a far deeper issue than the one in discussion.
Public outcries—I am here for it.
Righteous indignation—sign me up. Overblown temper tantrums, hissy fits, and bullying—Leave me out of it.
And consider seeing a therapist.
A Need for Another Perspective
I want us to consider other ways of thinking about this ever before us media saga of Omarosa. It appears to me, given the magnitude of response about her involvement and departure from the Trump administration, that Omarosa has become a target and scapegoat for people who feel powerless, anger, and sadness about a mixture of issues from race relations to the presidency. Her treatment comes at no surprise given that she campaigned and worked for a President, many people likened to Hitler.
Come on-commonsense says to disavow Hitler, right? Not to Omarosa, so many of us feel pretty proud with giving contemporary perceived Hitler sympathizers like her a good ole shaming.
Herein lies the uncommon beauty of the unfolding public tale of Omarosa.
I am not defending her or her actions. I am encouraging those of us who hold justice as critical to our nation, especially individuals who like to storm the streets in protest of racism and seemingly call boycotts every other week, to step out of the land of emotionalism to the place of critical examination. To jump off the bandwagon for a moment to at least treat people in the way we say we desire.
I know to do so can be tough.
My fingers quiver a bit as I type.
I blame Jesus for my raining on the Hate Omarosa Parade.
I think anyone can rant and spew hate online. It takes self-control to consider another perspective when we do not feel like it.
Such critical examination does not automatically negate our beliefs. At the end of examination, we might find our beliefs reaffirmed. No matter the outcome, hopefully, we consider another perspective and maintain a life that is aligned with principles, instead of bandwagons. Many of us know and believe the narrative of Omarosa, the sell-out. Maybe she is the queen of sell-outs. Still, I want us to think even more critically and question. Let us suspend our emotions for one moment to simply entertain a different perspective.
Some Tough Questions
If we want a more just world, then we have a responsibility to strive to live as just individuals. Therefore, we must ask tough questions that our feelings do not want to even entertain. I want us to pause and use our imaginations to give Omarosa the benefit of the doubt or to take her at her word. What if she actually expected to make a difference in her White House role? I do not hang around Trump. I do not know the ins and outs of their relationship. What if she actually liked the idea of changing the course of politics. Looking at the need for more progress, and the taken-for granted Black vote by Democrats, perhaps she saw a chance to do something different. It is easier to project a restrictive narrative of who she is, than to entertain the sense of another aspect of her.
Once in her role, what if she decided this is not what she signed up for? Is it possible that she is speaking the truth of coming in with a set of expectations, and experiencing something that she could no longer do. Some of us act as if we do not know what it is like to have our hands tied by organizational politics, when we are trying to do our job. I know what it is like to support someone, and then reaching that point where I choose to not sacrifice my principles in the name of “support.” As an even more pressing question, what if some of us got swept up in mob mentality, as is easy to do, and are making more of spectacle about Omarosa than there really needs to be?
What if Omarosa Were Omar Rosa?
I think if Omarosa were a male entertainer named Omar Rosa, she would be forgiven for all kinds of egregious actions. Indeed, I stand on one of my soap boxes. There are Black entertainers who degrade Black women and make millions off of encouraging toxic behavior among Black people. Oh, and we do not brand them as sell-outs. If anyone dares to challenge these individuals, they are met with outrageous push back.
To make matters worse, many of us will defend their actions. Some turn into Black Jesus, chastising the critics with the typical, “Don’t judge.” Why do the Jay Zs, Kevin Harts, T.I.s , Kanyes, etc. of entertainment get the Black Messiah treatment and Omarosa is treated like the woman caught in adultery, where people metaphorically stone her?
The latter chose the wrong side of politics.
My favorite response concerns ignoring people’s pasts.
I do not think we should hold people hostage for their pasts. Many of these entertainers have yet to apologize or atone for their actions. They do not tell people to stop purchasing past music or listening to it. Instead of showing remorse or regret, they simply move on to different projects. Some make donations to underserved communities without ever disrupting the disturbing messages they have promulgated or sharing about what they have learned in their “changed” lives. Therefore, the holier than thou arguments about judging people’s pasts miss the mark.
Because of idolizing entertainers, and not simply enjoying their talent, people can become skewed in their sense of justice. They give free passes to the transgressors who make them laugh, sing, and dance, and yet for those individuals they do not like, like Omarosa, there is no mercy.
I am thankful none of us are God because even in our highest ways, our biases can get the better of us.
If Omarosa were Omar Rosa, a pastor in a predominantly Black church, I think he would be forgiven with tremendous ease for abominable sins. I have seen many women stand by their perverted pastors in churches for the sake of forgiveness. Let me get this straight:
Some of us knowingly attend a church where the pastor has sexually abused and assaulted members, in a not so distant past, either, because he stood before the church with a tearful apology. And this super-spirtiual sense of loyalty and forgiveness is supposed to represent the love of God. On the other hand, Omarosa serving in the Trump administration is somehow unforgiveable.
What the what?
I am going to push this reasoning a bit further. Imagine if Omarosa were a dude named Omar Rosa, who violently lived as a parasite to his community, had babies out of wedlock, sold drugs, and lived as a known gang member. Imagine if he was killed by a White police officer, using questionable protocol. Black people would cry, “Black Lives Matter,” and prop up Omar Rosa as a hero to the Black community. Omar Rosa’s name would live on longer than his cousin who lived a completely opposite life.
In the midst of the tragedy, if people dared to bring up Omar Rosa’s troublesome lifestyle, we would witness some of the most empathetic responses, mixed with righteous indignation, and rightfully so. No matter how Omar Rosa lived, he did not deserve to be murdered. He still deserved justice.
Well, ain’t no justice for Omarosa.
Omarosa received advanced education, became a minister, and got married. None of it matters to people who selectively forgive the Omar Rosas of the world.
The crazy thing about all of it is Omarosa would have received more respect if she chose to have several baby daddies, go on welfare, hit the stripper pole, forgo college, and/or become the queen of trap house music.
I wish Jesus would have shown up at some point, and said, “He who is without supporting a sell-out,” cast the first stone.
A Little Respect
Even at the time of my writing this post, more articles have surfaced about the dealings Omarosa during her service in the Trump administration. In Washington, even people’s pets have skeletons in the closet. If we are going to dig into her work, let us be just and do the same depth of investigation for former White House staff of present and previous presidential administrations. All I am asking is for a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t for our belief in justice—for the kinds of people so many us of say we are.
By maintaining Omarosa as a villain in our public imagination, then, many of us feel that we do not have to have empathy or be reasonable. The public shaming of Omarosa sends a message to other Black people: Step out of line and you will get the same treatment. Consequently, like crabs in a barrel, this message reinforces group-think in the name of cultural unity instead of encouraging transformative, creative and inspired thinking. We prioritize conformity for safety over risk for change.
From a racial perspective, Omarosa never stood a chance. A critical mass of Black people seemed to write her off when she stumped for Trump. I heard the final nail in coffin all the way in Ohio, when she boldly proclaimed that people will have to “bow down” to Trump. And then, for her predictions of his victory to actually come to fruition stoked the flames of people’s anger. While working in the White House, Omarosa received jabs here and there in media, along with the resurfacing question, “What does she do?” I do not recall people being so obsessed with the job description and pay of various White House staff in all the years of President Obama, Bush, or Clinton. Jokes about her, her pay, and her role still run rampant. And liberals across race fan the flames. In the name of Jesse Jackson, we have witnessed a rainbow coalition of hate. I do not know whether to feel deeply moved or disturbed. I cannot help but think we are experiencing playground bullying from people who needed an outlet for their anguish and pain from losing the election. Wasn’t First Lady Melania going to do something about cyber bullying? We cannot have people using social media like Twitter to bully people. Hey, wait a minute— *Awkward* Never mind.
Braveheart or Sell-Out
Omarosa could be the epitome of a sell-out. She could be an opportunist of epic proportions. Also, she could be someone who risked big in hope to help. What if Omarosa is a brave woman? She could be one of the bravest individuals from the last election season.
Think about it: Currently, it does not require considerable bravery to be a Black person drawing from the usual liberal talking points or to be a Democrat. We have a sea of people across race in our “amen” corner.
In the United States, it takes guts and conviction to be a Black conservative, but to be a Black person to openly and boldly support Trump takes rare chutzpah. I might not agree with all of her politics or her choices, but so far, I can at least respect her for daring to stand in a difficult place. She could have easily played along to get along, like the way so many of us live. Out of fear of other people’s opinions, she could have remained undercover with her politics like so many of us do.
She did no such thing.
I hope to Gawd, it was not to sell-out for a paycheck, as many of the liberal naysayers suggest.
Although I am evaluating a sliver from her life as portrayed by the media, I did not hear Omarosa publically speaking weird sell-out language. She did not say that she was not Black. She did not say anything about ending Black History Month. She did not say that race or racism no longer existed. She did not tear down the Black man. Heck, she is married to a Black man.
At no point during the campaign or during her tenure in the White House did she denigrate Black people. She appeared to discuss her desire to make positive changes for the Black community.
All of these things have been ignored.
Omarosa, unlike, certain celebrities and politicians did not ignore the fact that she had a relationship or spent time with Trump. Trump seemed A-okay for these individuals when he was Daddy Warbucks for campaigns and partying. Then, they distanced themselves when they saw the liberal tide turning. It seems like the politicians who enjoyed his donations and the celebs who enjoyed schmoozing with Trump were quite the opportunists and sellouts, too. It does not make Omarosa less of a sell-out, if she is, but it does help us to put things in perspective when we are on our holy mountains calling down the wrath of God on people who annoy us.
Still, I understand the disgust, particularly among Black people. A significant aspect of different Black cultural groups, by and large, reaps the benefits of communal pattern within the African Diaspora. It is one of the reasons why we cheer for another Black person we do not even know. We see ourselves connected. When functional and healthy, it makes for phenomenal support and love. As a result, when numerous Black people see another Black person fall short, we can take it personal. It is as if our very blood has betrayed us. In the case of Omarosa, the anger can take on even greater significance.
I have a problem with piling up on a person, including Omarosa, simply because of dislike or any range of negative emotions. If I do not like you or agree with you, I still work in monitoring my own biases and being just towards you. Why? Because I believe in justice for all. One of the beauties of Amurricah is this notion of due process. Even if we are the scum of the earth, we are granted due process, for example, a fair and speedy trial. (Now, there has been since policies that strip away such liberties, and at this time, I shall not address them.) Fundamentally, our government is not designed in such a way that if we do not like a person, we do not have to be fair or we can throw out the constitution. Hence, the need for a just government. Left to our own devices we would deal out punishment according to our feelings and not a social contract of principles. And the verdict is still out on Omarosa. She might be a notorious villain, after all. Or maybe she is a woman like any of us, working through her strengths and flaws. A woman trying to create a life for herself.