Omarosa And The Difference Between Asserting Ourselves And Reinforcing Bad Stereotypes

October 31, 2013  |  

Ivan Nikolov/

Omarosa resurfaced on daytime television yesterday as a guest on Bethenny Frankel’s talk show, and boy, oh boy! I’m pretty sure she boosted Frankel’s ratings with her antics.

During her time on the couch, reference was made to Frankel “bad-mouthing” Omarosa during an earlier appearance on The View. Omarosa challenged Frankel for speaking negatively about her and her “career” to the hosts of The View, when, according to Omarosa, the two of them were friends. When Sherri Shepherd asked Bethenny if she was like Omarosa, Frankel said said this:

“I have a real career. I have a brand. I have a very popular cocktail. I have two New York Times’ best-sellers. I have my own show.”

Quite the dig for a “friend.” Friends don’t talk smack about friends, especially not on nationally syndicated TV, Bethenny. But what made it even worse was that Bethenny, who feigned amnesia about her own comments, offered Omarosa $10,000 IF she had in fact said “I have a REAL career.”

When the transcript revealed that she had indeed used those words, she conceded and told Omarosa that she would give her $10,000. NO apology for what she said, mind you, just a pay-off to add insult to injury.

In a following clip Omarosa bluntly stated that the difference between herself, as an African-American woman and Frankel (and all white women everywhere), is that white women can be “mediocre” and be rewarded while black women must be extraordinary, in a sense, to even get noticed. She went on to tell Frankel in no uncertain terms – and as smugly as possible – exactly what she thought of her (“I worked in the White House, you baked cupcakes, get a grip!”), barely allowing her to get a word in edgewise.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of Omarosa’s crass ways as first made famous by the premiere season of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. Although quite brilliant, I have always found her to be a revolving door of reinforcement for every negative stereotype piled on top of black women: Abrasive, attitudinal, condescending, scheming.

Though I completely agree with her assessment of the road to success for black women vs. white women, I am upset that her valid point ended up going over some people’s heads by her defensive and rude delivery. I believe she was, indeed, clapping back after Frankel badmouthed her on another show – and she certainly had every right. However, her delivery is always the problem. It’s like the child who gets jabbed subtly by another child and when they react, they react so ferociously that no one notices the instigator of the fight, just the one reacting like a fool.

Instead of being strategic in her approach, Omarosa went for blood: She took Frankel’s $10,000 AND two-pieced her with the ill-delivered “mediocre white women” comment. Aka, “No, heifer you ain’t getting away with this that easy.” Thus, she not only embarrassed herself again in front of millions, she continued casting a bad light on herself, and in a way, black women, by doing everything BUT rolling her neck, popping gum and patting her weave.

Her analysis of white privilege and her appeal to Frankel to see and acknowledge it was spot on. I couldn’t have said it more directly. It could have led to a much broader conversation just waiting to be broached between black and white women. Instead, her abrasive and domineering approach allowed Frankel to look like the victim of yet another “angry black woman” (or perhaps the “infamous” black woman) who was just looking for a few more minutes of shine on national television.

La Truly is a writer, college professor and natural hair and holistic lifestyle enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly. 

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  • reju4nate

    Omarosa missed her opportunity to expand on her statement about white women being allowed to be mediocre. She could have easily drawn a comparison of her own well accomplished educational background to Bethenny’s complete lack thereof. She could’ve pointed out that even the rise to her infamy was born out of her extraordinary education and professional career. There were so many ways she could risen above what will be known as yet another angry black woman moment made it into a legitimate teaching moment & opportunity spark a true discussion particularly on white female privilege. She could have done well to watch 2008s debate between Gloria Steinem & Melissa Harris-Perry before hand.

  • Treacle234

    It was unnecessary for Bethenny to throw shade at Omarosa by saying she has a real career. Omarosa had a 8-5 professional career before entering the realm of reality tv. Unlike many popular reality stars/socialites such as Snooki, Teresa Guidice, Paris Hilton,

    • hollyw

      Exactly, itv was completely uncalled for and catty, not to mention untrue.

  • SisterTruth

    Omarosa was described as “abrasive” in this artile. However, I completely understand why she had to go in on Bethenny the way she did. Bethenny has MADE her career being an abrasive, rude woman who vomits everything on her mind. If Omarosa had gone soft on her, she wouldn’t have got it. An abrasive woman like Bethenny needs it right back. Trust.

    Bethenny shouldn’t even have a daytime show because such a personality is NOT suited for daytime television. Nighttime, yes. Daytime, no! Queen Latifah has BEEN whooping her butt in the ratings. This time next year, I doubt Bethenny will have this show.

    • Ruston Ashbury

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • adczeta

    It seems as black women we must temper our feelings for fear we will be labeled as aggressive and ghetto. Omarosa took the opportunity she was provided to make it very clear, don’t disrespect me, don’t speak out the side of your mouth. The writer spent more time stabbing at what Omarosa did wrong then supporting what she was saying, we seem to slam our people harder than anyone else.

  • A.J.

    Well, the thing is that no matter what we do as Black women, we get labeled as abrasive. Even when our criticisms are spot on and delivered perfectly, if they’re not accommodationist or “peaceful”, we automatically are seen as loud and confrontationist. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the way that Omarosa handled that interview, and she was perfectly within her rights to put Bethenny on the spot. If the situation were reversed, people would be praising Bethenny for speaking out (another example of white privilege). Omarosa is just not the type of person to stay silent. That’s just a part of her personality, and the bottom line is that white people, especially white women, are intimidated by it.

  • MeowMeow

    I have to disagree with the writer. I think Omarosa handled herself well. I completely disagree with the notion that she was “abrasive and domineering.” Wow. I think I like Omarosa a lot more now.

  • ItsMyOpinion

    The author of this article is embarrassed for no reason. Omarosa said exactly what she needed to say. The only reason Bethany was offended was because she was supposed to be. There was already “bad blood” between the two of them, so of course Omarosa’s delivery wasn’t going to be wrapped in butterfly paper. Also, how often is it that two people from different racial backgrounds can speak on discrimination from one race to the other without there being some sort of attitude? It is clear the author of this article believes that black people should represent themselves in a “certain light” to appease our oppressors. GUESS WHAT? SCREW THAT! I don’t owe anyone anything, especially not white people. I say Ms.La Truly needs to get the stick out of her behind and stop worrying about our “image,” and start concerning herself with whether or not the message is being delivered!

  • Aisha

    I disagree. Black women must speak up for themselves, regardless of how we feel we might be stereotyped. I’m not going to sit on a couch next to a white woman who has challenged my success and not let her know the real. Which is that white privilege is alive and well in America and unless you can stand in my shoes or come from where I come from boasting about YOUR accomplishments is like boasting about canned soup!

  • hollyw

    Uh… I’m sorry, but I was more with the title of this before I actually read the article. If what she said was true, then I don’t really blame her this time. Bethenny’s commentary appeared ignorant, back-stabbing, and white-privileged up, and she probably got what she deserved. Could Omarosa delivered it less aggressively? No doubt. Was her aggressive response warranted, though? Yep! I can let it slide, she’s said worse.

  • Clarke

    As a 19 year old Black Male, this is what I have to say…

    There was, absolutely, nothing ‘stereotypical’ about how Omarosa portrayed and/or presented herself during the interview that took place on ‘Bethenny’.

    I acknowledge the fact that Omarosa is an ‘educated (Black) Woman’ of whom is not afraid of asserting herself when necessary and we saw that very assertion take place in that interview.

    I don’t recall her acting ‘uncultivated’ by way of ‘raising her voice/shouting/screaming or throwing a tantrum/multiple tantrums – the minor attitude that she did showcase, however unfortunate it may be, was just a retaliation and upset response to how Bethenny was treating her.

    Moreover, the ‘Stereotypes’ that ‘White people’ have attributed to my Race since they first ‘discovered’ us have caused our ‘internalized-inclination’ to believe that when we commit something that goes against, or is not a part of, the ‘Western Ideology’ in what it means to be ‘Civilized’, it is a ‘Stereotype’. We did not, at all, give ourselves any of the ‘stereotypes’ that are attributed to us as they have been forcefully granted to us, gradually, over time.

    Why is it that, for example, where ‘White Women’ are said to be “Independent”, ‘Black Women’ are said to be “Emasculating, Over-Bearing and Too Proud”? Why is it that where ‘White Women’ are said to be “Standing up for Themselves”, ‘Black Women’ are said to be “Violent and Argument/Fight- inducing perpetrators”? If ‘Hilary Clinton’ and ‘Michelle Obama’ were both running for president, they would not be judged the same way. To an extent, many Black Women do to feel the need to have to be extremely head-strong (and some Black men sometimes use it as an excuse to go after White Women) whereas with White Women, it is never acknowledged as that because they are, mostly, ‘cool, calm, collected and easily appeased’. This supplies the stereotype a small element of truth but that is not because of a fault within Black Women as a species but a defense from years of social oppression and crass socio-political/economic generalizations that have degraded them and seen them to be nothing but ‘Mammy’s, Jezebel’s and Welfare Queens’. I will defend Black Women until my dying day because one Birthed me and has taught me all that I need to know.

    • Sierra

      Your comment has left me STUNNED – there was so much TRUTH. And you are only 19? I am so proud of you… You know things about life that I didn’t even know at 19. Don’t ever change sweetheart. I agree ABSOLUTELY.

    • ItsMyOpinion

      You make me proud KING!!!! I know your mother is very pleased with you. You will make a black women very happy to call you “hubby.”

    • MeowMeow

      Yes little brother!!!!! I love this!!! I wish more of our young men had your attitude!! You can only get stronger and wiser!!

    • Mahogany Graves speechless well said my brotha!

    • SisterTruth

      I know you’re attending a good university, young brother. If you aren’t you should! Also, when a black woman is cool, calm, and collected, because we do have that capactiy as well, they don’t know what to do with it. They’re disappointed that she didn’t act a fool and fulfill THEIR stereotype, so they tell lies!

    • Ruston Ashbury

      Omarosa was absolutely stereotypical. She set the stereotype back, and enforced that no one would want to work with her. She went about this all wrong, and just came across as a rude person. The fact that you think there is nothing wrong with how she acted is horrifying. You focus so much on race, that you do not address how people ACT, and she acts like a jerk. Plain and simple.

      • Ruston Ashbury

        Also, if you think this is just an attack on all black women, there is a REASON she was voted the number 1 villain. I am addressing no other black woman, just Omarosa. She is poison.

  • guest

    The author needs to pick a side and defend it. First she says that Omarosa is aggressive and rude and harsh in her delivery, enforcing all the negative stereotypes people have of Black women. Then she goes on to say that Omarosa was justified in being direct and that she agrees with Omarosa’s point. I didn’t read anything that said Omarosa was cursing/cussing, getting loud, or acting like a hoodrat. So exactly how did she embarrass herself?? By speaking truth to people who will never hear it unless WE tell them?? I think it was the author of this article who was embarrassed, not Omarosa. I don’t know much about either of them, but from what I hear, Omarosa says what she means and means what she says — and as a Black woman myself, I can’t be mad at that.

    • bkabbagej

      I agree with you whole heartedly, Omarosa says what she means and means what she says (a women of means). From what I’ve read about this incident Omarosa was clear, precise and assertive when speaking the truth to Bethany, she never raised her voice, used profanity or showed any attitude towards this woman. I’m sick of every time an African American person says something that makes white people (and unfortunately some blacks), uncomfortable and don’t back down from what we truly believe we are considered “Abrasive, attitudinal, condescending, scheming”. I wonder why? I’ve seen some the most ruthless abrasive, attitudinal, condescending, and scheming white men considered successful, assertive, hard driving people and they get things done. Omarosa is an educated, successful, hard working woman and to have to continue to prove herself (I’m sure), is unnerving. Bethany can go on National T.V. and insult her but for her to have the nerve to speak to her on her show in such a manner make Omarosa the aggressor. I don’t think so there were no negative stereotypes shown here, just an educated woman speaking her mind and not giving a hoot who likes it.

      • guest

        You said it better than I. And THANK YOU for doing it !!!!

    • ItsMyOpinion

      You better speak on that!! EXACTLY!!

  • Britt

    I agree with this article and I definitely agree with what Omarosa said about “white privilege.” However, I’m not sure I can call Bethenny mediocre because she did sell her company Skinny Girl Cocktail for $100 million, so there’s hard work in that. Omarosa is definitely an infamous person in the world of reality TV, but I think her constantly playing into that “villain role” didn’t do much for her career, even though I do think she’s a smart businesswoman and brings in ratings when on television. I think Omarosa could have more success if she didn’t play into a stereotype as the author was saying.

  • READ

    it seems like the writer is on the fence..Omarosa did exactly what she was supposed to do…SLAY HER and defended all her degrees and the fact she worked in the white house to me that TRUMPS a television show ,cocktail, and 2 books. There both women in business but if you needed one of each to represent you who would you pick? I’m glad she read her it was needed.

    • BabyBlue

      She slayed her honey. Bloop (in my nene voice)

    • MuscleMansWoman

      “They are”

      • whoop there it is

        “They’re”….. little grammar Nazi…..

        • MuscleMansWoman

          Both are correct. It appears that I’m not the only “grammar Nazi.”