MICHELLE OBAMA IS A SMART BLACK WOMAN WHO LOVES HER PEOPLE-LOOK AT THIS WHITE PRESS GOING AFTER HER FOR THAT! FROM POLITICO.COM

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from politico.com

Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide

By: Jeffrey Ressner
Feb 22, 2008 04:20 PM EST
Updated: February 22, 2008 08:07 PM EST

Michelle Obama’s senior thesis at Princeton University shows a young woman grappling with race and society.
Photo: AP

Michelle Obama’s senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain “on the periphery.” Read the full thesis here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

“My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before,” the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. “I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.”

The thesis, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in 1985, has been the subject of much conjecture on the blogosphere and elsewhere in recent weeks, as it has been “temporarily withdrawn” from Princeton’s library until after this year’s presidential election in November. Some of the material has been written about previously, however, including a story last year in the Newark Star Ledger.

Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

During a presidential contest in which the term “transparency” has been frequently bandied about, candidates have buried a number of potentially revealing documents and papers. In Hillary Rodham Clinton’s case, there’s been a clamoring for tax records, White House memos and other material the candidate’s team has chosen to keep from release. The 96-page Princeton thesis, restricted from release by the school’s Mudd Library, has also been the subject of recent scrutiny.

Earlier this week, commentator Jonah Goldberg remarked on National Review Online, “A reader in the know informs me that Michelle Obama’s thesis … is unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008, at the Princeton library. I wonder why.”

“Why a restricted thesis?” asked blogger-pastor Louis Lapides on his site Thinking Outside the Blog. “Is the concern based on what’s in the thesis? Will Michelle Obama appear to be too black for white America or not black enough for black America?”

Attempts to retrieve the document through Princeton proved unsuccessful, with school librarians having been pestered so much for access to the thesis that they have resorted to reading from a script when callers inquire about it. Media officers at the prestigious university were similarly unhelpful, claiming it is “not unusual” for a thesis to be restricted and refusing to discuss “the academic work of alumni”.
The Obama campaign, however, quickly responded to a request for the thesis by Politico. The thesis offers several fascinating insights into the mind of Michelle Obama, who has been a passionate advocate of her husband’s presidential aspirations and who has made several controvesial statements, including this week’s remark, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” That comment has fueled debate on countless blogs, radio talk shows and cable news for days on end, causing her to explain the statement in greater detail.

The 1985 thesis provides a trove of Michelle Obama’s thoughts as a young woman, with many of the paper’s statements describing the student’s world as seen through a race-based prism.

“In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community,” the Princeton student wrote, “I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture.” Other thesis statements specifically pointed to what was seen by the future Mrs. Obama as racially insensitive practices in a university system populated with mostly Caucasian educators and students: “Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.”

To illustrate the latter statement, she pointed out that Princeton (at the time) had only five black tenured professors on its faculty, and its “Afro-American studies” program “is one of the smallest and most understaffed departments in the university.” In addition, she said only one major university-recognized group on campus was “designed specifically for the intellectual and social interests of blacks and other third world students.” (Her findings also stressed that Princeton was “infamous for being racially the most conservative of the Ivy League universities.”)

Perhaps one of the most germane subjects approached in the thesis is a section in which she conveyed views about political relations between black and white communities. She quotes the work of sociologists James Conyers and Walter Wallace, who discussed “integration of black official(s) into various aspects of politics” and notes “problems which face these black officials who must persuade the white community that they are above issues of race and that they are representing all people and not just black people,” as opposed to creating “two separate social structures.”

To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and “comfort” level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. Other questions dealt with their individual religious beliefs, living arrangements, careers, role models, economic status, and thoughts about lower class blacks. In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a “separationist and/or pluralist” viewpoint or an “integrationist and/or assimilationist” ideology.

Just under 90 alums responded to the questionnaires (for a response rate of approximately 22 percent) and the conclusions were not what she expected. “I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.”

Join The Conversation (read all 803 comments)

POSTReplies: 803 Viewed: 2379
trevorz72
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 1

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:26 PM EST

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Ok, so whats the big deal?
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I_B_4_FRED
Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 2

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I echo Trevorz…what’s the big deal. It was 1985 and a very very very very different United States. She was a young black woman in a predominately white college and society. This was the same year, I would remind everyone, where Cosby premiered. It was an important shift in racial identity in this country and her thesis illustrates a young woman of color who is attempting to find her voice and place in this changing society. It shows a woman who is balanced in her viewpoint. There’s nothing racists or remotely wrong in this, and it appears as if Politico was trying to make a big deal aobut Princeton refusing to release it, yet they got it with just asking the Obama campaign. Maybe that’s the lesson. You ask the candidates something directly from Obama you get answers from Clinton you get excuses (tax returns, papers in white house, the list goes on). Nothing here. More Politico straw grasping and no-nothing story to scare away the fringe white vote who might take this to be some kind of, I don’t know what, at times all this gets exhausting.

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trevorz72
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 4

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:34 PM EST

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I mean really, is there something I am missing in all of this?
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Dave in Sacramento
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 5

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:34 PM EST updated

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The title isn’t very promising. Anyway, I’m wondering just how long we’re going to have to wait before she announces her candidacy for congress. She looks like a yet another quality addition to match the tide of our times.

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I_B_4_FRED
Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 6

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:35 PM EST

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I think if anything, this article explains what a lot of blacks would think back in the day almost 20 years ago and why she would say :for the first time in her adult life she is really proud of this country”. It makes sense to me a die hard republican conservative.

It’s just to bad that the Clinton’s want to use it for evil. You know the Clinton’s. Crying for MLK, those people.

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I don’t know why we care about her undergrad thesis — anyone would be embarrassed by undergrad papers once over the age of 30. Nothing is that startling. As a smart black women she always felt like an outsider in the Ivy Tower . . . she’s not the first and unfortunately not the last. I just don’t get why politico is so tabloid-ish. A much more important story is that after her “valedictory” moment last night, Hillary Clinton told a Texas magazine this morning that she was going to fight to seat MI and Florida, to get those delegates. Isn’t that much more relevant to what’s going on in the primary?

Telling the truth as it was at that time should not be perceived as negative. We learn by our negative experiences.
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Mercer
Location: NA

Party: Conservative Reply #: 11

Mercer The Home is the greatest influence on the character of Mankind
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TASutpen
Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 12

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:41 PM EST

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Well, you see this and the other story today about Obama meeting Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn are intended to have a cumulative effect. The idea is to recast the Obamas as latter-day Black Panthers (you know, an Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver for the new milennium) in the public mind, and also suggest by inference that they’re willing to countenance terrorism against the United States. It’s a way Politico can play the Race and Terror card in the same instant (and I think it’s pretty obvious who the intended beneficiary is).
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Gil T
Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 13

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:41 PM EST

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It is beyond transparent that the folks at Politico.com are Pro-McCain and Anti-Obama. Why haven’t you covered the fact that the FEC is investigating McCain’s loan? Why is there no update on the McCain lobbyist NY Times story when Newsweek and the Washington Post have reported them? Why is there no story on how most of McCain’s current campaign advisors are lobbyist? Cherry picking what to politically cover is sad. And I thought Drudge and FoxNews were unbalanced. Silly me.
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WhaddaJoke
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 14

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:42 PM EST

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This is Politico’s Lead? Surveys show black graduates of Princeton don’t exclusively identify with race? There are distinctions between what we think of as Black culture and White culture/ Shocking… Way to break the news… Politico is really trying to cash in on chitty-chat pseudo journalism… maybe we’ll get other non storie like Hillary’s undergrad work, McCain giving a wedgie to some of his buds at Annapolis.. Who gives a sh*#??? Also the comment system needs tweaking…
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D.affiliated
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 15

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:42 PM EST

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Oh give me a frickin break, Politico really is out to get the Obama camp. First of all people, trying to inject race into her comments about feeling “really proud of America” for the first time in her adult life is just bigot-guilt talking. Look at what she said on it’s face; she said that she feels really proud because people are energized and ready to work together for change. She specifically said in her original statement that it’s not simply because her husband is doing well. If anything, her statement was a political thing not a racial thing; conservatives have basically been in control politically since 1980 and that’s the period that she’s referring to. Surely there was more racial prejudice in America prior to the 80’s, so she would have been less proud during that time if that was really the basis for her statement. You right-wing imbeciles are SOOOOOOOO emotional.
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I_B_4_FRED
Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 16

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:43 PM EST

Oh come on. What IS the big deal. The author of this article has taken small excerpts from an academic thesis for the sake of sensationalism. Shame on you.
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destempel
Reply Quote Report Abuse
TASutpen
Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 18

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:44 PM EST

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Well, you see this and the other story today about Obama meeting Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn are intended to have a cumulative effect. The idea is to recast the Obamas as latter-day Black Panthers (you know, an Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver for the new milennium) in the public mind, and also suggest by inference that they’re willing to countenance terrorism against the United States. It’s a way Politico can play the Race and Terror card in the same instant (and I think it’s pretty obvious who the intended beneficiary is).
Reply Quote Report Abuse
Teresa1
Location: Spartanburg, SC

Party: Democrat Reply #: 19

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:44 PM EST

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Have we really sunk to this level? When is Politico going to get Cindy McCain to release the contents of her sealed criminal files for stealing drugs? If you are going after Michelle, why not Cindy?
Reply Quote Report Abuse
JFK Dem67
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 20

3 Responses to “MICHELLE OBAMA IS A SMART BLACK WOMAN WHO LOVES HER PEOPLE-LOOK AT THIS WHITE PRESS GOING AFTER HER FOR THAT! FROM POLITICO.COM”

  1. Taxes » Black Is Beautiful!: MICHELLE OBAMA IS A SMART BLACK WOMAN WHO LOVES… Says:

    […] AdamsDrafting wrote an interesting post today on Black Is Beautiful!: MICHELLE OBAMA IS A SMART BLACK WOMAN WHO LOVES…Here’s a quick excerptIn Hillary Rodham Clinton’s case, there’s been a clamoring for tax records, White House memos and other material the candidate’s team… […]

  2. Wendolyn Dixon Says:

    Michelle has expressed herself.

  3. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

    Sister Wendolyn Dixon, Beni(Yes in Yoruba), Michelle knows how to tell it like it is! But whiteamerikkka doesn’t want that !God is in control ! Obama will fulfill God’s plan to save amerikkka in spite of some amerikkkans!

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