Malia And Sasha Obama At The Turkey Pardoning Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The youngest person at my family's Thanksgiving dinner yesterday was my niece. She is the youngest child of my wife's sister, and favors her (my wife) so much that people assume they're mother and daughter when they're out together. She is also either nine or 10 years old (I forget which), which means for as long as she can remember, the President of the United States of America has been Black.


While I'm sure she has enough wherewithal and enough of an understanding of history to know exactly how historically abnormal this is, this is all that she has experienced. There's nothing revolutionary or shocking or mesmerizing to her about seeing the Black president's Black daughters laugh at his corny jokes during the annual turkey pardoning. This is her normal. Me explaining to her why this is such a big deal is like, I don't know, a great-grandparent explaining the difference in taste and texture of backyard well water and sink water to me.

Her normal is also the normal for every kid her age. And even every kid currently in high school. If you are an 18-year-old high school senior, the president has been Black since you were 11 years old. Maybe you remember the Bush years, but you've gone through all of middle school and you'll go through all of high school with the President of the United States of America being Black, which is insane. Not insane, of course, that Barack Obama is president. But insane that this is — and will always be — a normal thing for this demographic.

Equally insane is how, to them, the experience of watching little Black girls named Malia and Sasha grow up in the White House — something that has been both the most delightful and even arguably the most radical part of the Obama presidency — is equally mundane. Old hat. All a little Black girl like my niece has known is little Black girls on the White House lawn with their mom and dad. And those little Black girls growing into less little Black teens. There are undoubtedly thousands of little Black girls taking their fashion cues today from what Malia and Sasha were wearing Wednesday. And thousands of little Black boys getting teased by their parents for blushing whenever either Malia and Sasha are on screen, the same way my parents would tease me about Rudy Huxtable and Ashley Banks. And the value of this — of these revolutionary existences existing as mundanities, as literally all that little Black kids like my niece have seen and known — can not be measured.



I wonder how many little black girls have been named Malia or Sasha from the years 2009 to now :-) I'm so glad that both of them have matured into these beautiful flowers and I pray that they are successful in whatever paths they choose.

Also the blackest thing that has happened this week is Cam Newton digging deep into the Black History dance archive to pull out a Chubby Checker classic for his latest victory dance.