Monsters are scary – so are brilliant Black women, by Julianne Malveaux
10/15/2020, 6 p.m.
I was frightened of monsters when I was a child. Not so sure why, but my brother, who loved to plague me, used to tell me they were lurking under my bed. I shook and I shivered, and I cried for fear that one of those dreaded monsters would rise from under the bed to strangle me.
I don’t know what got me over my fear of monsters. Perhaps I realized that my brother got perverse pleasure by mocking me. In any case, one day, he told me that there was a monster under my bed and I laughed in his face. And the monster myth lost its hold on me.
I got over my fear of monsters, but Donald J. Trump is holding onto his fear. His demons are brilliant Black women like Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson. He ridicules anyone who opposes him, but he saves his tartest barbs for Black women. We are his monsters, the folks lurking under his bed, inside his consciousness, willing to call him out.
According to one dictionary definition, monsters are “a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human world’s social or moral order. A monster can also be like a human, but in folklore, they are commonly portrayed as the lowest class, as mutants, deformed, supernatural and otherworldly.”
Monsters, threatening the white male social order. Monsters like Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris.
I wrap myself in the epithet of monster. Like Sen. Harris, I am an otherworldly woman who isn’t supposed to be a Black woman economist. I live to destroy the white male social order. I reject the notion that I am the “lowest social class” or “deformed.” And I embrace the idea of being supernatural and otherworldly. With the roll of my neck, the cut of my eyes, the arch of my brows, I can turn an ignorant white man into New Orleans blanc mélange just like Sen. Harris did a bland Mike Pence when they “debated.”
No wonder the best the Or- ange Man could come up with was to describe our precious U.S. senator from California as a “monster.” No wonder that the best he could do was to describe her as frightening.
In so describing her, Presi- dent Trump revealed his own fright, his fright of a woman so capable, so marvelous that he cowers in the wake of her brilliance. He cringes, and his vice president appears more afraid, so much so that he is too intimidated to allow her to finish a sentence, interrupting her twice as often as she interrupted him during the Oct. 7 debate. He earned her admonishment, “I am speaking,” and ignored the rules he had agreed to.
But the marginally elected president and his clone, who only differs from President Trump because he went to both church and charm school, have no regard for rules or decency.
I was angry that the Orange Man described Sen. Harris as a “monster” until a friend reminded me that monsters are frightening. And Donald Trump is not afraid, not scared, but skerred! (Yes, I spelled it wrong, just so you could pronounce it wrong, with a little bit of flava.) He is not only skerred of losing face and losing the election, but he is also skerred of the blue wave of Black women gunning for him, along with the white women who are sick of his dismissiveness. He is skerred of suburban women, regardless of race, who have had it with the ignorance that has decimated their families — 211,000 dead at this writing — while he rallies, joyrides and ignores medical advice. If he ain’t skerred, then he ought to be.
He is so skerred that he projected his greatest fear on Sen. Harris by describing her as a “monster.” Yes, she is — otherworldly, supernatural, disruptive to the white male order of being.
She is the future. He is the past, and his followers cling to his fading past where anybody but white men were invisible. She is the monster that is our future, a monster only to those who fear progress.
The writer is an economist, educator and author.