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Black Teens

Dear Malia Obama, I Am Sorry.

Dear Malia Obama,

I am sorry. I am sorry that you have decided to go to Harvard and have been subject to people who cannot hold a candle to you in any way giving the antebellum Ninety-Five Theses on why you do not belong there. Not because they are bitter colleagues of your Columbia-educated father or disappointed friends of your Princeton-groomed mother who have hoped you would continue their legacies at either institution. But because they truly feel that you have no reason to be there.

Not like I can truly compare, but I was raised under the spotlight and pressure of a highly intelligent and honored father who I looked up to and always wanted to be better than.

And seeing as your father and mother are both double Ivy grads in undergrad and law school, the only school you could have chosen to solidify their legacies was Harvard. Or maybe Oxford or Cambridge….but then, there would have been questions about your patriotism.

I am sorry that you have been afforded the best life that your parents busted their asses to get you, yet people feel like you are the product of affirmative action. I am sorry that you are clearly intelligent and come from good stock, but had you not been the daughter of the President, you would be subject to people disrespecting you to your face about your skin or respecting you only because they feel like you are an exception to The Unwritten Rule.

I am even more sorry that people who do not see Harvard as fortunate as you have decided to grace the school with your presence will say that it is “Black privilege” for you to be there.

I work at an investment bank, and despite being the most educated person on my floor and the only Black attorney in the entire building, people have treated me like the glorified help. Really, most times I feel like other people want me to be grateful to be there as if my honors graduation from law school doesn’t speak for me.

Not because they are bitter colleagues of your Columbia-educated father or disappointed friends of your Princeton-groomed mother who have hoped you would continue their legacies at either institution. But because they truly feel that you have no reason to be there.

I am also sorry that you have to deal more with the realities of being ¾ African-American than the royalty of being the older First Daughter like others who have come before you. I am sorry that despite being ¼ White, the “one drop” theory will never apply nor work in your favor. I am sorry that people refuse to consistently address your father as President Obama but never fail to revere every President before him regardless of length of tenure in office or presence or absence in a grave with the correct title.

I am sorry that other Presidents and their children have been mediocre in intellect, but no one has questioned whether they belonged anywhere because their capitalistic crowns put the fear of God in even the questioners such that they dare not speak the truth of their mediocrity.

I am sorry that adults discuss your every move rather than dissecting why your father’s predecessor and his father aren’t using their personal fortunes to help the economy they decimated.

I am sorry that you have not enjoyed the freedoms of being a teenager because your dad decided to become the leader of the free world. I am sorry that even on your worst days, you still have to look so calm and carefree because that’s not fair and I was once a teenager. The few times I had to do that then, and even now, I wished the world would disappear, but your world cannot.

And I am way more sorry that every time you step out of Air Force One or the Presidential Limo, your every move is nitpicked by phantom bullies hiding behind computer screens and keyboards fuming at the very thought that you acted like a teenager in your teenage years.

I am sorry that other Presidents and their children have been mediocre in intellect, but no one has questioned whether they belonged anywhere because their capitalistic crowns put the fear of God in even the questioners such that they dare not speak the truth of their mediocrity.

However, I am NOT sorry that your mother’s Black is not cracking and has people questioning if she sleeps all day in order to look so stress free. That is that Black Girl Magic. I am NOT sorry that you parents stand as proof that Black men and women can be successful, rule the world, AND stay married with children of a full bloodline.

I am absolutely not sorry that you and your sister are the cutest teenagers I have ever seen who appear to not even remotely be fazed that you are now and forever will be in the spotlight. I am not sorry that for the rest of your lives, you will never have to deal with men who will try to play you for fear that Secret Service will not hesitate to dislocate their rotator cuffs.

I am not sorry that you are currently and will always be best friends with the future dignitaries of the world. I am not sorry that you and Sasha looked like the gorgeous princesses you are at the White House State Dinner. Who is ever going to be sorry about talking to Ryan Reynolds?

I am only truly sorry that I am not the daughter of the first Black President of the United States and that I am not your sister. But I am your sister and I will always protect you because I and all your other Black sisters love you with all our hearts.

So Malia Obama,

I am sorry, but I am not sorry at all. They will stay mad. And you will stay.

By Lola Oyekan

Lola Oyekan, Esq. is Nigerian by birth & Houstonian by the grace of God. She works at an investment bank, but in an effort to actually be taken seriously in life, she moonlights as first chair on all litigation against S.H.I.E.L.D.