The malcontent at the summit

(Update, 6:40 p.m.: as reported in The Daily News, the French government denies the claim that Michelle called being First Lady of the U.S. “hell.” It also denies the The Mail’s report that the book making the claim was written with Carla Bruni’s participation.)

Reported in the Mail:

Michelle Obama thinks being America’s First Lady is ‘hell’, Carla Bruni reveals today in a wildly indiscreet book.

Miss Bruni divulges that Mrs Obama replied when asked about her position as the U.S. president’s wife: ‘Don’t ask! It’s hell. I can’t stand it!’

Michelle’s remark that being First Lady is “hell” instantly reminded me of two things. First, of her feelings about being at Princeton, where, notwithstanding the fact that she was the recipient of benefits that were utterly closed to any white student with the same grades and scores, and notwithstanding the fact that, as she herself admitted in her senior thesis which was on this very subject, there was no racial discrimination against her of any kind, she was deeply ill-at-ease, filled with resentment at some non-specific and unexpressed white attitude that made her feel out of place as a black at Princeton. May we not conclude that she also feels out of place as black First Lady of the U.S.? In both instances, the more the society favors her, the more she resents it and feels alienated from it.

Second, her statement that it is “hell” to be in the White House reminded me of something said by a conference of Afrocentric high school teachers in the early 1990s:

“We, the African community, in the hells of North America, do pledge our minds, our selves, and our bodies to further the struggle.”

For race conscious blacks, to live in a white majority society with a white-defined majority culture will always be hell. For such blacks, the only way to end the hell is to destroy America as a white majority society with a white-defined majority culture.

- end of initial entry -

Richard S. writes:

Why is Michelle Obama in hell? Because she has to stifle. As First Lady she has to present to the world at least a semblance of graciousness. No longer can she hate on whitey overtly, verbally.

Yes, she can vent to her husband and possibly to her personal assistants in private. But for someone as filled with race venom as MO, someone for whom hating on whitey is a safety valve (as well as a pleasure, possibly her chief pleasure) the need to stifle in public is indeed hellish.

LA replies:

I agree, with the quibble that I wouldn’t say that she “hates whitey.” I’d say she has a deep resentment of whitey.

Sophia A. writes:

I want to say a word in defense of Michelle Obama. In the same way that even paranoids can have enemies, Michelle Obama isn’t wrong to feel insecure in her job (for it is a job) as First Lady. Not so deep down, she realizes that she’s not the stunning fashion icon the press regularly makes her out to be. She’s just a regular woman, with her figure flaws, and awkward dress sense. And she’s black, with a huge arse and steel wool for hair that requires constant straightening and tending.

When she sees a real European beauty like Carla Bruni, she knows this. When she sees Carla’s soft, naturally straight hair, thin-bridged nose, fair skin and blue eyes she must feel like shriveling up. If the press had just taken Michelle in stride and not made preposterous comparisons, such as comparing her to Jackie Kennedy, she’d be a lot more comfortable. You may say that she invited these comparisons, but the press didn’t have to fall for it. It’s a two-way street.

Much in the way of the modest man with much to be modest about, Michelle is an insecure woman with much to be insecure about. I don’t have to think she’s beautiful—on the contrary!—but I do feel some mercy.

LA replies:

Good points.

However, my reply would be: she is not innocent here. She is trying to make herself a fashion ideal, absurdly trying to appropriate the fashion mojo of Jackie Kennedy, and looking the more ridiculous and bizarre the more she does so. Nobody forced her to do that. She is arrogant and disrespectful to foreign white royalty, patting Queen Elizabeth on the back, visiting the King of Spain casually dressed. Nobody forced her to do that. She did clearly imply, throughout the 2008 campaign, that whites were racists (or at least acting out of racial “fear”) if they didn’t vote for her husband. Nobody forced her to do that. She did say that prior to the success of her husband’s presidential campaign, she had never had positive feelings toward this country. Nobody forced her to do that.

Gary Moe writes:

Mrs. Obama may not have made the comment, but it certainly sounds in character. Consider the following: she has two small children, is the sort who probably needs a lot of “me time,” and is a ceremonial figurehead for a people she doesn’t like, doesn’t understand, and has nothing in common with, i.e. Americans.

I’d be willing to bet almost any amount of money that before Obama’s term is up she slips and says something in public that is so inflammatory that it puts Obama’s ability to run again in 2012 in jeopardy. She probably doesn’t want to be First Lady (which is actually I think a normal, healthy desire) and might even semi-consciously sabotage her husband’s presidency if she wants out badly enough.

Jim C. writes:

What I find repulsive is the unprofessionalism of the comment. And I think that both Barry and Michelle are aware of their AA credentials, so it’s no wonder that defensive Barry tends to jut his jaw around real Harvard graduates. Barry’s no JFK, and Michelle is no Barbara Bush—lol.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 16, 2010 05:47 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):