In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, there have been plenty of fingers pointed at the current president of the United States for simply not doing enough or reacting in the best way. Of course, this has naturally caused an uproar with President Trump’s supporters who have decided to ‘clap back’ with…well, lies.
Essentially, a twitter account known as ‘@TrumpResponders’ has resurfaced from February 2017 in response to Trump criticism in regards to Hurricane Harvey. @TrumpResponders claims that former first lady Michelle Obama did not care about the victims of Hurricane Katrina and went shopping immediately after disaster struck.
Unfortunately for @TrumpResponders, most people saw through their shallow attempt to get attention off of Trump and onto the Obama family (who weren’t even in the White House at the time of Hurricane Katrina). Not only was Barrack Obama not president, therefore, Michelle Obama was not the First Lady of the United States but also the picture they claim to be of Michelle Obama is actually of Condoleeza Rice.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but it all leads to the answer of ‘blatant racism.’ Because one, not all Black women look alike and two, shaming the only Black family to have ever lived in the White House to get heat off of the new white president is transparent at best.
And even if we push past the racist implications (which we shouldn’t), it should be noted that Condoleeza Rice has already sincerely apologized for going shopping after Katrina and that was about six years ago. In her memoir, Rice wrote about her choice to go shopping and how much she ultimately regretted it after seeing how Black people were suffering due to the hurricane and she could not, in good faith, watch her people suffer while she went off to buy shoes.
So, while the photo may bring about negative thoughts and feelings, Condoleeza did everything she could to make up for her own actions and be a better person in the wake of the suffering of others. Other Twitter users were quick to point out the racism of the original tweet and why posting misleading information like that is wrong, but others also pointed out that even though Obama wasn’t President yet he was still present in New Orleans.
For some people, it became a meme but for other Black people, it’s just another reminder that you can work twice as hard and be a good person even before your presidency and not receive the recognition you deserve for all your hard work and patience. Unfortunately, this is the reality of being Black in North America. I’m just glad there were enough people to come to the Michelle Obama’s defense.