Friday, June 27, 2008

Michelle Obama

After having one of the most stressful weeks at my job to date, I find myself at 2:14 p.m. on a Friday with little to nothing [urgent] to do...

Go figure.

Well, I've been meaning to write about this for a little while, glad I finally have some time to do so.

The New York Times recently wrote this before Michelle Obama went on The View. You all know I don't watch TV, so I didn't see it, but I heard she did a good job.

That's besides the point. The point is Michelle is very publicly dealing with something that most African-American women deal with in private on a daily basis: She has to apologize (in one way or another) for not being a white woman.

UPDATE: After proofing this I'd like to change the above sentence to something that anyone who doesn't fit the status quo has to deal with on a daily basis: trying to fit the status quo.

Now don't go getting scared about what you're about to read... like my posts on picnic shoes, hair moisturizing and shopping I'm going to give it to you straight, nothing to be threatened by.

Race is an issue in this country. As much as we'd like to sweep the "issue" under the rug, somehow it just keeps creeping up. That's because if you don't clean up the dirt, it'll always be there. It's not going to magically disappear and everytime it surfaces it's going to be just as dirty as it was before, if not more. America's dirt is that surprise, surprise we're NOT a melting pot. We're more like a tossed salad. Everyone IS different. Each race COULD stick to ourselves and be just fine, but coming together enhances us all. (I mean I like tomatoes and carrots and olives alone, but they're even better when together in a salad with a little creamy ranch dressing... I'm just sayin').

My point is, we were segregated, now we're [arguably] integrated, but no one race has educated the other race on the nuiances of their race or culture because no one wants to admit that we're different. Because White people make up a majority of the population in the United States, by default [most] non-white people have had to figure out how White people best operate.

I guarantee you've never heard a Black college student asking a White college student WHY they wash their hair everyday, but you've absolutely heard a White college student ask a black person why they DON'T wash their hair everyday. I'm not hating on the questions. I welcome the questions, I'm just saying that save for white people, you usually have to do some research into someone's background to understand where they are coming from, why they do what they do, why they don't sound like you sound, etc, etc.

Because most people know how a White woman sounds, acts and feels, most people expect that all other women are going to act this way. Michelle Obama does not sound like a White woman. Nope, she sounds like a Black woman from the south side of Chicago *Imagine my lips pursed and my neck poppin' as I say what I'm about to say* She's not on that with you!

She worked hard to get where she is, recognized her parents and ancestors in the process and is not about to be a pantyhose wearin,' apologizin' when people don't like what you say, tip-toein' on eggshells, type of wife to the presumptive democratic presidential nominee (GO OBAMA).

But because people are not used to a woman like her, I'd argue that they're threatened (hence the "need" to soften her image). And they're threatened BECAUSE they don't know how not to be BECAUSE they've never been taught, never been exposed to a woman like her. Be it educated woman, black woman, real woman, pretty-but-still- smart woman. I don't know that it's a strictly race thing, but I know race has a lot to do with it.

Hell... some people have never been exposed to anything other than people JUST like them. If they're stupid, they only know stupid people. If they're rich, they only know rich people. If they're [insert race here] they only know [insert race here] people.

So what am I saying... What exactly is my point? You know... I really don't know... I just wanted to talk about it... let me re-group.

Ok. Got it.

My point is Michelle Obama is an attractive, real, Black, educated, woman. She is a devoted wife and mother and though I understand WHY the campaign MAY see the need to "soften" her image (they want to win, duh), I think it's some straight BS and I'll be glad for the day when people who are capital R, REAL (like myself) can be themselves without having to sugarcoat every darn thing to make others feel more COMF-TABLE!


antithesis said...

you make good and valid points. great post, as usual!

ThummyB said...

Good points. I have to give it some thought and hit you back later.

ThummyB said...

Here's a nice article that speaks to this issue.