My letter to Malia
I am so sorry Malia,
You are taking strides to set your future on a positive trajectory. And as I’m sure you have many rallying around you who are applauding your efforts, there are also those out there who after being dropped on their heads as babies, have not applauded you, but have attacked you and your choices. As one old enough to be your parent I can say that watching this has been mortifying. I am sorry that you have to be privy to all of these shenanigans. The attack pendulum swinging from lunacy to ignorance is nauseating to witness even from afar. The smear campaign that was launched first after your father, then your mother, has now included you. For this, I am so sorry.
The attack is on all sides. On one lies this centuries old history of second class citizenship that many would love for you to fit into. Those reaching for reasons of superiority which can only be bred from deception as no truth in their rational lies within. They hate over hues of melanin. They plant in a seed bed of lies implying that you received your Ivy League acceptance by Affirmative Action and not by your study, commitment, tenacity and intelligence. The hatred spewing from the mouths of evil men, equating your honorable family to that of apes. I suppose apes become senators, lawyers, authors and leaders of free worlds. And although I tend to handle pain tongue and cheek, sprinkled with humor, I hate that you at your tender age have had to be subjected to all of this. For this, I am so sorry.
On the opposite side are those who share your ancestry. While their attacks are not as heinous of those across the aisle, the sting is still viable as you are held under a microscope of accusation. This implication that you or your family are less African American because they have and you plan to attend an Ivy League and not a Historically Black College. This age old debate on being down enough, real enough, represent enough, Black enough. This pain rooted in plantations divided among complexion and hair texture. Those throwing these stones have somehow forgotten or were never taught that the purpose of our mighty HBCU’s was to create options for those of color. Oh the irony as you are now ridiculed for taking advantage of the very rights that these colleges paved the way for. For this, I am so sorry.
I find myself always astounded when positvity is vilified. You stand during a time when the stripper is applauded but the student is shamed. You have positioned yourself in your young years to have options. You have studied, and worked, and planned, and prepped. I’d admonish you to stay away from one of the greatest enemies to your purpose and passion, the “you should haves” offered within other people’s opinions. These people who have no investment in you personally to offer critique.
You handle pressure with such grace. You step to stages large and small with the elegance of your mother, and the prominence of your father, your youthful glow that is all your own. There’s only one way to commemorate the appreciation I have for you, and that is PRIDE.
Never has a child from the First Family had to suffer on this level, not on this level. Your honorable father and mother have tilled soil that had never been gardened. And you my dear, along with your younger sister, spent your most impressionable years doing so.
Malia, your natural and expected trepidation while starting the once in a lifetime journey into adulthood is now sprinkled with ridicule. For that, I am so sorry. I say go forward. You have received good counsel and your decisions are yours. Your reward will be also. Charge forth young woman, charge forth!