Archive for August 27th, 2008

OUR PROUD BLACK SISTER MICHELE OBAMA REALLY GOT DOWN AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION!BROTHER EUGENE ROBINSON DESCRIBES IT IN THE WASHINGTON POST

August 27, 2008

FROM voices.washingtonpost.com

Michelle Obama Owned Her Moment
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
I confess that when Michelle Obama was speaking last night, I wasn’t thinking about the political impact her words might have on white, left-handed working-class registered independents in the lower Rust Belt (or was it the upper Rust Belt I was supposed to be worrying about?) who voted for Hillary Clinton and say they’ll vote for Barack Obama but first want to see some specific display of body language from his spouse.

I thought about my wife, and my mother, and my sister — and I tried to appreciate what a moment that was for black women in this country.

The image issue for African American women is different from that faced by African American men, but no less complicated. Early in the primary season, I asked a white acquaintance whom she liked on the Democratic side. “I like Obama, but not his wife,” she said. “She looks mean.” I didn’t know what to make of that, because I don’t see “mean” when I look at Michelle Obama. I see confidence, accomplishment and, yes, strength — but, somehow, “strong” gets turned into a pejorative when applied to black women. The word is used to imply “intimidating.”

I don’t get it. Look At Cindy McCain. She’s the one who brought the money to the marriage. She’s the one who seems to make the financial decisions for the couple — to the extent that John McCain can’t even be sure how many homes he owns. She’s smart and opinionated. But nobody’s clamoring for her to give a performance at the Republican convention next week that makes her seem softer and more approachable. Is it that she more closely fits some agreed-upon notion of what a political spouse should look like?

I suspect that’s the case, and I suspect there’s a generational issue in addition to a racial issue. No matter: Michelle Obama owned her moment Monday night. She owned the Democratic National Convention with a performance that was poised, purposeful and proud. She is imposingly tall, but no one could make her stoop.


By Eugene Robinson | August 26, 2008; 12:35 PM ET


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