I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I find Michelle Obama to be absolutely fascinating. I realize that not everyone sees her the same way — where I see the modern Jackie Kennedy, others see Omarosa, as I’ve heard her naysayers call her. Right now I’m watching the woman I sincerely hope will be the first lady of this country on the Colbert Report, and I’m taken with her grace, class and elegance. So is Stephen, apparently — he told her she’s a “very good looking woman,” and serenaded her with Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E. Charming.
I’ll post a clip as soon as one pops up on YouTube. I just flipped channels and lucked into seeing this, so keep an eye out for the rerun tomorrow evening at… when is that, 7:30? 8? Check your local listings.
The depiction of Barack and Michelle Obama as “elitists” based upon Barack’s recent, admittedly-awkwardly-phrased statement about embittered rural blue collar workers is laughable to me, and I think she shrugged it off admirably tonight with a joke about the number of silver spoons she had in her mouth, as she grew up on the south side of Chicago.
To shine more of a light on the formative experiences of Michelle Obama, read on — the homegirl Nichelle of Anovelista sent me this amazing article about Michelle Obama’s freshman year at Princeton, written by Brian Feagans. It’s about Catherine Donnelly, whose mother, Alice Brown, initially requested for her daughter switch dorms because she didn’t want her to have a black roommate.
“”I told them we weren’t used to living with black people â€” Catherine is from the South,” Brown said. “They probably thought I was crazy.”
Today both Donnelly, an Atlanta attorney, and Brown, a retired schoolteacher living in the North Carolina mountains, look back at that time with regret. Like many Americans, they’ve built new perceptions of race on top of a foundation cracked by prejudices past â€” and present. Yet they rarely speak of the subject.
Barack Obama’s run for president changed that. When the Democratic senator from Illinois invited more dialogue on race last month, Donnelly and Brown, both lifetime Republicans, were ready.
But their willingness to talk isn’t a response to the candidate born to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. It’s more about Obama’s wife, Michelle.
She’s that roommate from a quarter century ago.”
It’s an absolutely amazing article, underscores how long the shadow of Jim Crow-era thinking is, and ends with the kind of revelatory sentiment that Mike Huckabee also expressed, kind of. Kind of.
“The story of race in America is one of generations: what’s passed on, what isn’t and the friction between the two.
When Brown heard about Barack Obama’s former pastor â€” his angry rants against white America â€” she didn’t like it. But she understood. “If I had been treated the same way blacks have been treated,” she says, “I’d be resentful, too.”
It was Donnelly, however, who understood Obama’s response: “The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static.”
Society changed, and Donnelly has seen her mother nudged along with it. Says Brown: “It’s become politically incorrect to talk about black people in a negative way. It’s like smoking.”
Brown quit smoking in 1996. She’s still working on the other.”
It’s like smoking. Well doesn’t that little addition just stick in the craw.
I’d love to know your views on the recent issues in the campaign, bellas. Did you catch Michelle on Colbert? Do you think Barack should appear as well, to court the “Colbert bump?”
** the photo is from this great Chicago Magazine article, First Lady in Waiting.