Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our First Lady

I am a long time fan of Michelle Obama. I even wrote a post about her roughly a year ago. She was the reason I looked more closely at BHO. Her comments resonated with me. Michelle Obama's life reminded me of my own. She could easily have been someone in my neighborhood whom parents would urge their children to emulate, if they wanted success.

I raise these points in light of the comments given by Fox News pundit Juan Williams. During an appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show, Williams, in issuing a warning to the First Lady to check herself, stated the following: "Michelle Obama, you know, she's got this Stokely Carmichael in a dress thing going. If she starts talking..., her instinct is to start with this 'blame America,' you know, 'I'm the victim....'" (here is a link)

I have one conservative friend who is convinced, like Williams, that Michelle Obama is an America loathing, greivance peddler. I have told my friend, often, that he would need to catagorize the overwhelming majority of multi-generational African Americans the same way, including me. To point out the flaws of your country, and to try to fix those flaws is not a sign of hating the country. She is comfortable telling it like it is, and so am I.

This issue was on a couple of the blogs that I read, and two threads really stood out for me: Jack & Jill Politics and Ta-Nehisi Coates. The responses are generally angry, and I certainly can understand why. I would encourage you to check out some of the things that are being posted.

It is sad to think that there are some who have allowed their understanding of black folks to have been shaped solely by faux "race" men and women who feel as though they speak for all black folk. It is equally sad to see a black person, who, through his own experiences, should understand precisely where people like the Obamas are coming from, yet join the crazy chorus for lack of something more substantive to say.

The Obamas are in a position to revolutionize how the world looks at black families; Michelle Obama is in a position to revolutionize how the world looks at black women. These are heavy burdens to bear. But, as I sensed way back in that first lunch, she is more than capable of handling her business. So, yes Juan, Michelle Obama is a revolutionary, but she is a 21st century revolutionary (no anger or afros necessary). And please know that this revolution will be televised (and digitized, and blogged, and tweeted...), and the soundtrack definitely will be hot.

2 comments:

Fiona said...

Well, I love her, as you know. And I tend to judge men by their partners, so what I think of her translates to the President. Let's write that again: the President. Whee!

Anyway.

I never read her as angry (except maybe at Beanie Babies for exploiting her girls). She seems to me the ultimate No BS person. She's not going to lie, or sugar-coat, or pretend to feelings she doesn't have. It's nice.

And as a woman who is often outspoken, and who has made many enemies that way, I cannot possibly blame her when she offends. It happens. The only way *not* to offend is to keep silent. That's the traditional political wife role, and it's based on the old gender roles we all rejected years ago.

So whatever for Juan Williams. Like Michelle Obama, sometimes I agree with him, and (as in this case) sometimes I don't.

But can he single-handedly bring back broaches? I didn't think so.

Topper said...

I have a theory about the "angry black woman" view of Michelle Obama. My theory is that this take on her is only partly about her being a "black woman," it is also just about her being...a woman.
Why can't she just be...nice? Like Mamie Eisenhower maybe? She should be more...um...ladylike.

We've come quite a way in this country in erasing racial and gender stereotypes, but they still exist. Michelle is a target for those who hold both those biases.

I'm proud of her, I'm proud of Barack, and I'm proud that they are the new faces that America presents to the world.

So, just discovered your blog and I'm impressed. It's nice to get my head out of the gutter. Well...once in a while hehe.

Scott (aka Topper)