Every family has a member or two who has done something that has brought embarrassment or shame to the rest.
President Obama’s brother (we are Africans, we don’t have step-brothers) Malik appeared as a guest of Donald Trump’s at the third and final presidential debate. He subsequently announced he would vote for Trump and went on a Twitter tirade against Obama.
Malike drew so much ire on social media, you might have been forgiven for thinking the Obama family is the only one in the world to have a member spiting the rest.
However, I’m sure you don’t have to think very hard to find your family or group’s black sheep, assuming, of course, it is not you.
When you are famous, your notoriety becomes everyone’s property, as it were, with everyone and their sainted aunt feeling they have to share their opinion. So I guess the Obamas will just have to exercise their usual grace and not be provoked into reacting to Malik.
If they need reassurance they are not the only ones with a black sheep, the Obamas need not look outside their present abode.
US first families going back to the times of second President John Adams ( 1797 to 1801 ) have all had that one member whose name was never mentioned in polite society.
While Adam’s most famous son, John Quincy Adams, went on to become the sixth president of the US (and you thought political inheritance of the White House began with the Bush dynasty), his other son, Charles, was running through Harvard in the nude, becoming an alcoholic, losing the family money in shady land deals. His father called him “a madman possessed by the devil”.
In recent times, there was Jimmy Carter’s drunk of a brother Billy, who urinated on the airport tarmac in full view of the media, and later got involved in shady deals with Libya’s Gadaffi, embarrassing his brother into eventually disowning him.
Then there were Ronald Reagan’s sons. One of them denounced him and the other told the press he was a gay ballet dancer, which did not go down with the conservative Reagan family.
There were also George W Bush’s twin daughters Jenna and Barbara and their well-publicised arrest for underage drinking, while their father was still in the White House.
And I haven’t even started on the Kennedy family and their many scandals.
So Malik’s antics should be seen in the light of one in a long line of awkward family members whose out-of-tune bleating makes them the black sheep.
Who blackened your wool?