Firpo Files 10-4-2012
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Misusing Michelle

'Ann Romney Playboy, the First Lady National Geographic'

The Firpo Files

(October 4, 2012)

While the October 3, 2012, presidential debate dominates the news (a faceoff that many believe the president didn't fare as well as he could have), a relatively quiet but disturbing backstory connecting their wives was barely a blip on the radar by comparison.

For years now I have stated here in my column that systemic racism glorify the White woman and simultaneously degrade the Black woman. Frankly, I've grown weary of such stories. But, reality refuses to give me rest.

The latest incident where the White woman was glorified and the Black woman degraded occurred about two weeks ago right here in the greater Los Angeles area. Educator Mike Hayhurst of Bartow, California, the superintendent of a number of High Desert charter schools but who doubles as a rodeo clown on weekends, made the substance of the following announcement over the public address system during a rodeo event: 

"Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine, and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them." The high desert has a reputation for being a hotbed of White supremacists groups.

Hayhurst was forced to resign effective October 1, 2012; and responsible rodeo officials said he can't clown around with them anymore either. But stirring questions remain.

As superintendent, how many young minds have Hayhurst poisoned already? Over the years, how many people of all races has he offended through jokes, comments, or reprehensible actions and behaviors?  

A Backhand Compliment?: But what if some misguided person argues that Hayhurst handed Lady Obama a backhand compliment? After all, Playboy is a magazine famous for photographing women of, shall we say, "easy virtue," whereas National Geographic is famous for being a family oriented magazine.

This is fallacious, convoluted reasoning on several levels that overlooks the inequality of the $250,000 vs. $50 offers. The fact is, Ann Romney is put on a pedestal as the Barbie Doll example--a memsahib (I explain later)--for all women of the world, while Michelle Obama is relegated to a magazine known for featuring animals and "primitive" cultures. But it's more to it than that.

Snow White & Coal Black: The story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," which provides background, has obvious racist overtones. It was designed with White people in mind. On the other hand, the inimitable Bob Clampett (1913-1984), a virtual legend in cartoons and animation, created "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" for Black people. (Google it!) While Snow White (who was as white as snow) was a virtuous modestly-dressed female, Coal Black (who was as black as coal) was a micro-mini-wearing slut!   

Who is Clampett? He created (or contributed) Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Mickey Mouse, and Tweety Bird. And regarding "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs," in "1941, Bob Clampett created what has been called the most controversial cartoon of all time: Interestingly, some white critics and other cartoon buffs say it is the best cartoon ever made," says Wicked Words: Poisoned Minds--Racism in the Dictionary (1997).

Did Hayhurst know all this? Probably not. Racism is so deeply encoded in European and American psyches and cultures that peoples of all races absorb it subconsciously!

The Memsahib: The Oxford English Dictionary describes "memsahib" as "a European married lady; also, one who behaves like a European woman." Seven popularized stories reflect supposed White female superiority: (1) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, (2) Cinderella, (3) Goldilocks and the Three Bears, (4) Little Red Riding Hood, (5) Sleeping Beauty, (6) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and (7) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

"Let's just face the facts," says Wicked Words, "...whether it was done by mistake or design; whether wittingly or unwittingly; consciously or subconsciously; overtly or covertly; obviously or subliminally ... [e]very impressionable little girl of any other race wants to be like the little white girl in these stories.  

"The precious minds of these non-white little girls are already being molded, groomed, or shaped to surrender their own personas in favor of one that they could never really attain, or have a ghost of a chance acquiring, namely, white female essence. Sadly, it is an exercise in futility."  

My parting words to First Lady Michelle Obama: Among many other wonderful things, you are a holistically lovely lady with a big, beautiful heart; and are a highly educated, brilliant attorney as well as. Godspeed to you and yours, Lady Obama.