Recently, at a charity event, a gay woman must have lost her mind because she thought that the best way to get what she wanted from President Obama was to show up at an event where First Lady Michelle Obama was speaking and heckle her.
The reason why I mention that the heckler was a gay woman was that she was heckling the First Lady because she wanted President Obama to sign a bill banning all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against gay people.
Mrs Obama is reported to have stepped away from the podium and walked over to the woman , looked her in the eyes and made it clear that she would not tolerate her behavior.
At no time during the event, can anyone say that the First lady did not conduct herself with the class, grace and style that we know her for. That being said, though, the first lady did have to get firm with the woman. What I really love about this interaction is that it shows that a woman does not have to sacrifice her dignity in order to get people to like her and she does not have to yell and scream to be heard.
Many women, especially Black women, seem to think that in order to be respected, they have to get loud and “ghetto”. Unfortunately, this approach typically has the opposite results from what it was intended. When a woman starts yelling and screaming, it makes people feel like she lacks self control and self respect and they typically do not respect her.
There are women who operate on one end of the spectrum, where they are overly “nice” and even when they are offended, do not speak up because they think people will think they are overreacting. Then there are those who do overreact and make a spectacle of themselves.
I applaud Mrs. Obama for so gracefully demonstrating the middle ground; be firm and let a person know your boundaries but don’t get emotional about it and don’t be too “nice” either.
Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter