Ashamed To Be A White Woman

27 Jan


Louise Annarino

January 26, 2012

Did you see THE HELP? In the movie based upon the book of the same name, the racism of white women takes center stage, but the African-American women are the stars of the show. When I saw Republican Governor Jan Brewer, of Arizona angrily shake her finger at President Obama at the foot of the staircase as he emerged from his jet, I thought of this movie. Governor Brewer was behaving with the same arrogant disregard for the humanity of President Obama as the white women in the movie did their household help. She displayed the intrinsic racism of white women, which we white women must confront and overcome on a daily basis.


What does this disrespectful act show? It shows her premise that she is superior to President Obama, that he must answer to her, and that she is free to publicly shame him. Why? How? He is not her child. He is not a boy. He is an adult male. He is the President of the United States of America. He is a guest of the state of Arizona. He invited her to be present on the tarmac for his arrival, an honor HE granted HER. And he is African-American. To the Gov. Brewers of the world the latter overrides every other consideration.


She says the president is “thin-skinned” because he told her that in her book, she misrepresented  a meeting he had with her in the White House. Immediately after the meeting she had told reporters it was “cordial’ and was ‘all smiles”; but, in her book she indicated President Obama had lectured her and was condescending to her.  In other words, she accuses him of having an opinion and challenging her own. How dare he! She later tried to justify today’s behavior saying she felt  “threatened”. How many African-American men have been jailed or lynched on trumped-up assault charges by a white woman claiming she felt threatened? Too many. As a  further defense of her own rudeness she accuses the President of walking away from her while she was still talking. She accuses him of the very thing she did…behaving rudely.


Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was close enough to observe and overhear the interaction  between the two. He has indicated that the President did not prematurely leave the scene; but, in fact stayed much longer than he expected, and was very gracious and calm. In the photo itself, President Obama appears to be calming and comforting. It is not he who is angrily denouncing someone. When interviewed about the incident he continued to act graciously toward Gov. Brewer. The Governor’s attempt to justify her actions is not simply a reframing of truth to make herself look better; nor is it believable. It is a series of lies which defame President Obama. This confirms the President’s contention that her book misrepresented him. She is still misrepresenting him!

The most damning of all is that Gov. Brewer actually thinks we accept her justification. White women always expect to be believed when attacking an African-American man. Clearly, we can all see within the photo itself, and from comments of nearby observers that she was putting the “boy” in his place. To then add feeling threatened and accusing the President of wrongdoing confirm my initial impression that she behave with racist anima. This is despicable behavior. Unfortunately, it sells books.

Somedays, I am just ashamed to be a white woman. Today is one of those days.


One Response to “Ashamed To Be A White Woman”

  1. Karen Boltz January 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    I, too, am appalled by the behavior of Governor Jan Brewer, but not very surprised. She, like Gingrich, revels in the spotlight of meanness and is reliably racist. It’s my belief that her behavior, along with that of too many other Republican governors, let alone presidential candidates, will cause many life-long Republicans to reconsider their membership in this brand of conservatism.
    I continue to be amazed at the unflappable dignity and humor of President Obama – he lifts my spirits. In spite of all the gross unfairness and economic distress he inherited and the additional burden of race-based obstructionism, he is lifting the entire country’s spirits through his example. President Obama embodies FDR’s motto, “Let Unconquerable Gladness Dwell”.

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