Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wow!!! Zora, Our Very Own Negress, Makes Her Debut on the New York Times Column the Opinionator

[Insert slow clap or slap to the haters and easily offended]

Zora, our own respectable negress got some shine from The New York Times on Tuesday with her post, "What America Really Wants is a National Mammy."

Some choice comments from the readers of said journal of record (Eric, we do appreciate you giving us some love...it is much appreciated)--Zora knows how to rile folks up it seems!

I liked this article a lot. Although I don’t follow fashion much, I’m one of those 70some percent who adore Michelle Obama, which makes me wonder why in god’s name Zora would assume that the mainstream is uncomfortable because of Michelle’s “negritude.” And what’s with all the “WASP,” and “mammy” lingo? I realize racism still exists, but sheesh…some people just don’t realize how out of touch this embattled perspective is. America loves their new president and his beautiful, intelligent wife and yes, some Americans are having to redefine their view of black women, but I’d also like to think that in turn some black women could redefine their view of America.

— colortheory

Well, I guess I’m in the “good, middle-class Negress,” category according to Zora, but what a condescending way to refer to people whose lives helped make Michelle Obama’s First Ladyship possible. I arrived in Baden-Baden, London, Paris, etc. as a representative of the U.S. nearly 30 years before Barack and Michelle did and, yes, I was wearing something by a mainstream designer. I had to give a damn what people thought because there were no E.E.O. requirements for international jobs back then and probably still aren’t. Fortunately for me, my field — international technical standards — was inclined to make appointments based on merit, since it mattered. However, well aware I was a first in every way, you betcha I covered my arms and kept to mainstream fashions (which I also happen to like). Because of those who paved the way, Michelle Obama is now in a position to wear whatever she chooses. As long as her heart and mind remain as open, kind and honorable as they are, I could care less what she has on. The rest of us will just have to keep Vera and Donna and Calvin and Oscar busy for her.


I enjoyed this article save for the last few paragraphs. Who pray tell is looking for a “national mammy”? We’ve elected an African American president, let it be over!! The first couple is hugely popular, why would anyone revert to these stereotypes? The country has indicated they are ready to move on, are you with us Zora or are you going to hold everyone back?

— kate dimmock

Isn’t it kinda racist to call Oprah a “mammy”?

— yo

Uh. Michelle doesn’t look like a middle class black with her conservative sheathes and straightened hair? She looks very corporate to me.

I’m not complaining. I think she looks great and certainly don’t think major labels represent anything interesting but please, let’s not act like she’s breaking any new fashion ground.

And frankly, I think she looks like a lot of first ladies, very corporate. She’s just taller than most of them. Height does not make you a more powerful person.

Also, to suggest that one of the most powerful women, most powerful people really in media today is a mammy figure.

Other than a shared weight problem, exactly how? The problem all first ladies share is clearly the problem all women share, we confuse physical appearance with personal worthiness.

And as a final aside, I don’t think most Americans share the impressions of the bloggers either way of Michelle Obama.

— nSH

amazing this michelle. all her pretty dresses, husband president living in the white house. maybe finally this woman can really say she is proud to be an american, and we really arent all that mean!!!! give me laura any day.
— claire

It’s unfortunate that degree of “Blackness” have to be measured. Comparing Oprah Winfrey with the First Lady? Why do you put Black women into such a confined box? YOU’RE putting the ceilings on them, Zora.

And please, if you think that people of all colors aren’t content and comfortable with Michelle Obama- at some 70% approval rating- you obviously are missing the greater consensus of America.

Just let her be herself without making her better-than or worse-than anyone else.

— Julia

“If Michelle were overweight and outwardly insecure about her Negritude (ala Oprah Winfrey…”‘

I’m not sure what the author means by this but, the notion that Oprah Winfrey is “outwardly insecure about her Negritude,” is laughable. As for the rest of it, Obama is a stunning woman even if she sometimes gets it wrong. (Could it be she has other, more important things on her mind?) Nevertheless, she is beloved by the public, no matter what she’s wearing. So enough with the articles that try to convince us that she has bad taste. Give it a rest. To paraphrase the late Mae West, Carla Bruni is a model, Michelle Obama is the real thing.

— Yvonne


Zora said...

Dear All,

Just call me Don Imus from now on.


All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

LOL don

Batocchio said...

Well done!

Zora, we like you too much for that.

Anonymous said...

Reading the article, I think the problem was the confusion between America and the American media.

Zora is right when talking about the media. Seriously, touching the queen? Even if it was bad, unless it caused a serious diplomatic incident, why should we care? We parted ways with the royal family over 200 years ago.

I honestly don't think "America" and the media see eye to eye on this.


Noah Odabashian said...


its hilarious what you get when you tug on some of the more sophisticated strands of racism. We got them to mediate the "N" word, look at what happened to Kramer's career! Golly, what more do we want?!

and to think, people are just forgetting the racist New York Post Obama-Chimp cartoon! And now this comes up?! It must be hard hearing about the racisms that somehow continue to flourish post November 4 2008. I wouldn't know, I have always been a target, never had the luxury to be a spectator.

I dig this blog.

ARTist MoNK said...

Excellent post Zora...I hope you dont mind if I linked it from my blog check it out.


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that you needed to stereotype fat women as
"mammies" and "loud, overweight black woman" to make your point about
Michelle Obama.

When will this nonsense stop? I was prepared to write a completely
different post about the fashion industry's hypocrisy until I saw this
shit once again.

As much as you don't like being stereotyped, guess what? Overweight
black women don't like stereotyped either, especially by other black
women! And given the fact that most black women are overweight, you
risk alientating most of your audience with your nasty attitude.

But once again you've proven it's okay to be dismissive of fat women
because the dominant culture gives you permission. The dominant culture
is also dismissive of black female images in fashion, so I guess like
any stupid conformist, you advocate on behalf of that too, right???

I'm sorry, but any point you had in your post has been sullied by a lack
of empathy for people who are placed in the same exact situation you
claim you are against. You have earned my complete and utter disgust.

Anonymous said...


At no point did Zora make a point about "fat women" being mammies. The mammy reference has to do with Oprah's affirmation of white female norms and behavior.

Don Imus