By: Makeda Waterman
On November 4, 2008, the announcement that Barack Obama became United States President was sweet music to my ears as well as a point of worry, because I knew it was going to be the beginning of a challenging journey for him.
He's a biracial man with a squeaky-clean past who stayed poised at all times. His detractors tried hard to bring him down publicly. Let's look at how he remained resilient during the peak of his career and what you can learn.
His Nationality Was Questioned
At some point in our lives, we will be asked what Caribbean island or African country we came from even when it is obvious that some of us were born in Canada. While some get offended by these types of questions, others have become de-sensitized. Whether you work on Bay Street or you are a student, learn from Barack Obama's reaction.
The political trolls were waiting for him to have an angry outburst, but as the gracious professional he is, he requested a copy of his Hawaiian Passport and posted it on the U.S. Government website. Donald Trump also jumped on the bandwagon and requested Barack to show proof, and we can only imagine what he and his family was going through. As a black person, there will be times when your patience will be tested. One act of ignorance does not mean you should clap back to prove a point. Let your success do the talking.
A Republican's Photo of Barack Obama as a Monkey
If you thought the passport scandal was outrageous than this one tops the list. In 2011 a California Republican party official named Marilyn Davenport emailed a picture of a family of 3 monkeys with Barack Obama's face on the child.
Many of us have become used to seeing or hearing black stereotypes, but when it happens on the job, it can create a negative environment. There are times when people will do things to see how you will react to discredit your professionalism or tear you down. In Barack's situation, he held it together and kept his head high despite the public embarrassment. When in doubt, take a few deep breaths, gather your composure and don't get distracted by negativity.
His Daughters Were Publicly Disrespected
In an attempt to speak to Malia and Sasha through a Facebook post, a Republican officer by the name of Elizabeth Lauren wrote a short paragraph with a negative description of Barack and Michelle's parenting skills because they appeared bored for having to stand during the Thanksgiving 2014 ceremony with their father. For all we know, they may have wanted to enjoy the holiday without having to share it with the world. To add salt to the wound, Elizabeth mentioned in her post that the two sisters should dress like "they deserve respect, not a spot at a bar." She eventually expressed an apology for the comments and resigned from her position at The White House.
I was once told that there are three women in a man's life you don't want to mess with; his mother, daughter, and wife. Not only was Elizabeth crossing the line by disrespecting underage girls but her boss was Barack Obama, the United States President. There may come a time in your life when someone will publicly embarrass you. Take a step back and wait because others may notice it and will come to your defense.
Michelle Obama's Passport Was Publicly Compromised
As I write this article, I am in disbelief that this is even possible. In December 2016, a hacker broke into a White House Interns Gmail account and posted The First Lady's passport online. On the blog post, the hacker wrote "The leaked files show the security level of our government. If terrorists hack emails of White House Office staff and get such sensitive information, we will see the fall of our country."
If you think your job is hard, try walking in Obama's shoes for a few days. It is a lesson for all of us; no matter what happens it is always better to walk the high road. Remember that acts of racism are not about you, it is a reflection of how that person is feeling inside about themselves.
The 44th U.S. president has epitomized grace and class in the face of hate and pettiness. So when you think you are in a tough situation, ask yourself what would Obama do?
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