Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who Am I?

Hello, nice to meet you.

No, there's no need to get up, I'll just take a seat next to you on the couch. I love the paisley by the way.

Are those lace doilies? I've tried my hand at knitting, but I've never had the time to really get into it with all the craziness at the law firm and later at the hospital.

Oooh, your children are beautiful! I have two daughters myself, Sasha who is 6 and Malia who is 9.

You know, I got Malia a dress just like that when she was 3 years old. She loved it, and was so cute prancing around the house carrying her favorite Barbie.

You seem surprised that my daughter would play with Barbie. Don't tell me you've gotten caught up in the rumors and believed I wouldn't let my daughter play with Barbie because she's a "whitey?"

Girl, please.

Now, I had to take the Barbie away when Malia got a little older but that had nothing to do with skin color. I can't have either one of my babies looking at 44 DDs and a 20 waist wishing they came in that size. That ain't a realistic goal for a black woman considering the hips and butts God gave us.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about Barack, and maybe a little about me.

I know you've heard a lot about us; that we're angry, that we're different, that we don't share the same values that you share. You know what? Some of those things are true.

We are angry. When we travel around this country we see a lot to be angry about. We see people who remind us of our parents and grandparents, good people of every hue who are struggling to eke out the same standard of living as their parents while the people in power are trying to live better than any generation before them. That makes us angry and it should make you angry.

Honestly, we're different too. We're black, for one, so that makes us different from 65 percent of this country's population. Not only are we black, but we're well-educated, gainfully employed, married black people, and that's not the type of black people that you probably see when you turn on your television or go to the movies. I'm sure our existence, not to mention that fact that Barack wants to be president, is a big deal to you.

It's ok to admit that you feel that way. Nobody is here but me and you, and I tend to keep it real. Did you catch the fist bump?

But, don't let these folks tell you that we don't share your values, that we don't understand what you're going through. Yeah, Barack and I are doing good now, but it wasn't that long ago that we were struggling to pay off student loans and private school tuition. Make no mistake, we've been blessed, but just because God blesses you doesn't mean he removes every stumbling block from your path.

You think it's easy being married to a man who wants to run the world? You think it's easy having to sit my daughters down and explain to them that Daddy might never come home because some people don't like his skin? It's not easy, it's definitely not easy.

People tell me I talk about race too much, that I want to focus on all the bad things in America. They wonder I can't just be proud of the progress this country has made.

Are they stupid?

Don't they see that you can be proud of somebody or something but still want better? Don't they understand that being satisfied with what you have is a good way to lose everything?

Wait...Don't turn away. I'm sorry if I upset you. I am just emotional sometimes. Sorry again.

It's just...Well sometimes I just get so frustrated with the way we discuss things in this country, the way we avoid the hard topics and scream at each other about stupid stuff. I want to explain to people just how important their lives are, and how much power they have to make this country great. But, they have to demand better from the people they elect to represent their interests.

I watched my father struggle his way to work everyday to pay for our house, to get my brother and I the education we needed to get into Princeton and it hurts my heart that the opportunities we had aren't being offered to more people. I remember curling up in his lap, smelling his cologne, feeling his arms and just feeling safe. I want that for every little girl, not just the black ones; I want them all to have that safe feeling.

Anyway, I just hope you consider Barack, he really means well. You see how hard he's trying to quit smoking after I bothered him about it? That man is driven when he sets his mind to a task... I love that man.

It was nice talking to you, I really appreciate you letting me in your home and listening to me talk for a while. You have a beautiful home and a beautiful family.

Oh no....Just call me Michelle.

(This piece was inspired by this article.)


OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Man me an my girls had a conversation about this yesterday (via e-mail since I'm not local)

It is a bit angering that she needs to be made over I mean what needs to be made over about her? Why does she JUST need to be likable. I like her I LOVE her. However as a black woman who shares some of her qualities and modest background (I'm not married or a wife but the rest I am) I identify how some people identify with her negatively, but it DOES NOT make it right!

Anyway GREAT PIECE!! Bravo!


WNG said...

That was a GREAT PIECE. The line they have to walk is so thin it is nearly invisible and so high off the ground they must live in a constant state of vertigo. I think that the best we can do is to suuport them through all of it and try to understand the tightrope act. And also know that each step they take will make it easier for the next couple.

and OG, I love her too. So many black women across this country have got her back and I hope she knows that, I like to think she does.

Truthiz said...

The truthiz, I don't really see it as Michelle having to "remake" herself.

I think it's moreso, about her feeling the need to RE-introduce herself to America (in particular, white America) and the world with an emphasis on her "softer" side, if you will.

Let's face it, not only do most men in America tend to be "turned off" and, at times, even feel "threatened" by a Strong, Outspoken woman_but a lot of American women have a problem with accepting that kind of woman too!

And if that "strong, educated, outspoken, woman is BLACK?! Well LAWD, that's just too much for a lot of White people to bare!!! So it becomes easier to vilify and dismiss her as an "Uppity" and "Angry" Black woman" than to deal with White America's INSECURITY and "sexist" problem.

Michelle is simply showing Americans (especially white women) that there's more to her_much more_then an Ivy League education and "an attitude."

Should she have to do it? No.

But she's not the "first" (and she sure as h*ll WON'T be the last) Black woman_OR woman, for that matter_having to strike just the right "balance" in order to win people over so that she can get on with taking care of her business, which in this case is...

...helping to get her husband, a Black man, elected to the Presidency!

Big Man said...

A friend of mine asked me what I thought Michelle's role in Obama's campaign was.

I told him that I thought she was there to keep black people on Obama's side.

It's no surprise that so many black woman love Michelle or at least the Michelle they've seen. She is representative of the sort of black woman that most black people are familiar with.

She instantly connects with black people and lends Obama even more credibility because we all know that if he was man enough to embrace her and cherish her then he can't be a really bad guy.

Yet, white people are so unfamiliar with black love, so conditioned to believe that black relationships are all disfunctional that when they see Michelle and Obama together something just doesn't compute. They see her confidence and they see his love and they wonder what's really going on. It's very interesting.

WNG said...

They see her confidence and they see his love and they wonder what's really going on.

So tru.
I see it and I think, "Yes, I CAN have that too!" It is inspiring, reaffirming and heartwarming to me to see them together.

Miss Deacon Blue said...

I love this piece, as a middle age Black woman who happens to be from Chicago, I look at Michelle and can see parts of myself. As the mother of a little girl, to be able to see a woman like Michelle as a potential role model is powerful.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Big Man my BFF said it best in regards to Obama and Michelle.

"Michelle just seems like a no-nonsense type of sister and you know her man has to be strong just to handle her! If he can be HER HUSBAND he can definitely be MY PRESIDENT!"


Big Man said...

Exactly OG.

That's what I was trying to say. She's not the type of sister to be trifled with and while it's clear that she runs the house in certain ways, it's also clear that Obama is not henpecked or weak.

Just the fact that he knows how to handle her and keep her looking at him the way she does tells me a lot about the type of man he is. A black woman is not going to give you that kind of look unless you are doing things right.

Oaktown Girl said...

Nothing to add to what's already been said without going on an angry rant of my own. Just wanted to chime in for the record to say yeah, I love Michelle Obama.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

big man, im with OG on this, as well as u. anywho chk what I call the blinded by the Obamafication of America

Raving Black Lunatic