Frisky Rant: Calling The Kardashians “America’s First Family” Is An Insult To The Obamas

Cosmopolitan just released its 50th Anniversary cover, which features the Kardashian women whom the magazine proudly declares as “America’s First Family.” Somehow, the magazine must have forgotten that America already has a first family: the Obamas. The presidential family whose mere presence at the forefront of American politics was meant to represent “progress,” a legacy that stood as proof that the country could, indeed, overcome its racist past. Sadly, Cosmo’s trivialization of the title “first family” shows a blatant disregard for that legacy and for people of color to whom it represents generations of dreams and aspirations realized.


This is not the magazine’s first racially insensitive transgression this year. Only a few months ago, the fashion magazine published an article titled “21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015″ which featured photos of women of color in styles Cosmo claimed needed to “RIP” beside photos of white women representing the trends the mag approves of, their images captioned “Hello, Gorgeous!” In response to the outcry on social media, which deemed the article racist, the editor responded with this note:

This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.

For a magazine that supposedly aims to “celebrate all women,” the visibility of mostly white women versus WOC in that article told quite a different story. And now, calling a family of white women “America’s First Family,” despite the fact that the country already has a first family (who happens to be Black) shows the magazine continues to fall short of its goal. Cosmopolitan does not seem to be genuinely interested in celebrating “all women.” White women are still apparently the most important.

Which bring us back to the conversation about the six white women who have somehow supplanted Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama as “America’s First Family.” Yes, designating the Kardashians — who are most famous for a sex tape, reality television, hair extensions, modeling and plastic surgery — the “first family” is unremarkably absurd and obtuse. But more importantly, it trivializes the hardships endured by America’s first family throughout Obama’s presidency. From the resurgence of White supremacist hate groups when Obama was elected, to cartoon drawings depicting the president as a monkey, constant references to Michelle as a man and the untenable constant scrutinization of Malia and Sasha by the media, there is no shortage of examples that highlight the struggles of America’s real first family.

What, precisely, have the Kardashians done to earn this title? Let’s review!

I suppose, among the aforementioned accomplishments, marrying and/or dating rappers should be listed. Or perhaps parading a big, round derriere on the cover of a magazine while imitating racist Black Jezebel stereotypes is also noteworthy? If not that, then maybe the continued commodification and appropriation of other cultures without remorse? Such are the criterion for a family of white women who aspire to being called “America’s First Family”?

The criteria for a Black family, on the other hand, must have at least two Ivy League college graduates, a mother who spearheads various social movements, two teenage daughters who are among the 25 Most Influential Teens of their time, and, you know, a two-term President. Oh yeah, and they must also continue to battle the racist demons birthed by centuries of inequality — gracefully, no less.

Cosmopolitan evidently does not understand why these two families should not share a title. Anyone with a modicum of respect for the legacy of America’s (first!) Black first family, however, most certainly should.