Oh Look: Michelle Obama’s Complaining Again

 

Michelle ObamaLast week, first lady Michelle Obama lectured the leaders of The Whitney Museum at their grand opening, insisting that American museums are unwelcoming to “people who look like (her).” Her stable, middle-class childhood and her Ivy League education — topped with wealth, power, and privilege — can ‘t mitigate her fury at perceived ill-treatment at the hands of a racist America.

This week, FLOTUS registered a new complaint about the bad hand America has dealt her. In a commencement address, she inspired graduates of Alabama’s Tuskegee University by lamenting the pain and emotional distress she has endured as the first African-American First Lady.

“You might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a ‘terrorist fist jab,’ ” she said.

“And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited ‘a little bit of uppity-ism.’ Another noted that I was one of my husband’s ‘cronies of color.’ Cable news once charmingly referred to me as ‘Obama’s Baby Mama.’ ”

Obama said she was subjected to a different set of expectations on the campaign trail in 2008 compared with other candidates’ wives.

“‘What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on?’ … The truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse,” she said.

“But, as potentially the first African-American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?”

In the end, she said, she realized all the negativity was just “noise.”

Though she calls it “noise,” it’s obvious she carries a chip on her shoulder about every single comment. Though she pins the blame on racism, other first ladies have received far more criticism than Michelle.

Laura Bush was ridiculed about a fatal car accident from her youth, Barbara Bush was mocked over her appearance, Nancy Reagan was demonized as a horoscope-consulting Marie Antoinette, and Hillary Clinton was attacked for being, well, Hillary Clinton. And the more politically active a first lady, the more flak they take. Had she lived in the era of social media, I expect Eleanor Roosevelt would have shouldered far more criticism than Michelle could imagine. Moving to other women in politics, would our first lady swap her media treatment with Sarah Palin’s?

Despite all the evidence, Ms. Obama insists that America’s intractable racism means that she has suffered worse than all of them. The citizens who twice sent her to the White House and place her on the cover of all the grocery store glam magazines are obviously white supremacists.

Now it’s one thing for the First Lady to wallow in a bit of self-pity as she lounges in her taxpayper-funded mansion, taxpayper-funded private jet, or taxpayper-funded presidential suite on the Costa del Sol. But the truly toxic part of her speech is what she told the successful graduates of the historically black school famed for the heroic pilots it sent to fight World War II:

So there will be times, just like for those Airmen, when you feel like folks look right past you, or they see just a fraction of who you really are.

The world won’t always see you in those caps and gowns. They won’t know how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed to make it to this day — the countless hours you spent studying to get this diploma, the multiple jobs you worked to pay for school, the times you had to drive home and take care of your grandma, the evenings you gave up to volunteer at a food bank or organize a campus fundraiser. They don’t know that part of you.

Doesn’t that last paragraph apply to everyone? She continues:

Instead they will make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. And my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can be. We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives — the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the “help” — and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.

And I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day — those nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds; the agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far from equal; the realization that no matter how far you rise in life, how hard you work to be a good person, a good parent, a good citizen — for some folks, it will never be enough.

And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry.  It can feel isolating.  It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter — that you’re like the invisible man that Tuskegee grad Ralph Ellison wrote about all those years ago.  And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real.  They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible.  And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.

Each Tuskegee graduate studied hard to be accepted into college, invested tens of thousands of dollars to remain there, and worked their posteriors off to get a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate from that school. Each diploma is proof that a person can achieve great things with a little initiative and hard work.

But the First Lady of the United States insists none of that matters. The graduates must never forget that first and foremost they are victims. They are but pawns destined to live under the boot of a cruel nation that will always hate them. Sure, anyone can grow up to be President, but even then you will suffer slights and distrust from America’s real power structure.

What a contemptible message to send to these successful young men and women. What a tremendous disservice to the families who sent them there and the employers who will hire them. What cruelty.

Published in Education, Politics
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 48 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Al Kennedy:I will be very happy when she and her husband are both gone from the White House in January 2017. Unfortunately, she will be giving the same kind of speeches when her husband is out of office.

    I can picture an elderly Michelle Obama talking about the time in 2017 when she and her family were evicted from their home so that a white (or white Hispanic) family could move in.

    • #31
  2. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Ryan M:Adam, this is the third or fourth time I’ve seen this same comment from you in different contexts… I’m again going to call BS on it, though.

    [snip]

    First, this is the second or third thread on this exact subject I’ve seen, so I hope I can be forgiven if my reactions were similar.

    Second, you may not care what liberals do in the comment sections of the HuffPo or other liberal-dominated spaces, but from my perspective we really should.  The memes and narratives spit out by the various echo chambers have a way of finding their way into mainstream discourse, or at least refining and re-entrenching what already exists.  Whether or not some high-living Acela-corridor columnist slags Sarah Palin as “George Bush in lipstick”  matters much less than whether the meme is accepted as orthodox by activists and allies.  Similarly, there’s a limit to the harm Mr. Gabriel could do by going on CNN and slamming Hilllary’s looks.  Unfortunately, conservatism can be greatly damaged if the rank and file of the conservative movement allows itself to focus on such things.  We’re better than that…or at least I think we ought to be.

    • #32
  3. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    [cont’d.]

    Aaron, you talk about how rallying the base is a common tactic, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  I agree – up to a certain point.  Yesterday I posted a study out of Emory that seemed to demonstrate that people in this country are now more motivated by fear and loathing of the other party than they are by pride and support of their own.  Perhaps I am out of line, but this scares me down to my bones.

    If this study is accurate, “finding a common enemy” is now more important in American politics than actually coming up with constructive plans and ideas about how the country should be governed.  Not only do I dislike this idea in itself, I also find it incredibly troubling as a conservative.  For better or worse, the left is worlds better at shark, disdain, and scaremongering than we are.  Perhaps it’s because they’ve got the handy-dandy shield of “but we’re just trying to make a better world” to pull out whenever their shrieking becomes too shrill, perhaps it’s because they’ve got the bohemian literati who devote their lives to these kinds of courtier-ish status games, and we’ve got soldiers, farmers, and middle class professionals who have jobs and kids.  Whatever the reason, if things continue in this vein, the right is screwed.  We can’t compete with the left in the outrage sweepstakes, and in my view it’s a mistake to try.

    • #33
  4. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Adam Koslin:[cont’d.]

    [cont’d.]

    Perhaps I’ve got a massive stick up my rear.  Perhaps I want things from conservatives more generally and Ricochet in particular that I’m just not going to get.  But it just seems to me that it is somewhat unseemly for conservatives to get bogged down with “who said the most ridiculous thing this week” memes while most of us seem to agree with the idea that such things are unseemly and a product of an unhealthy political culture.  At some point someone has to say “enough,” and decline to get down in the rhetorical mud.  It certainly won’t be the Democrats – they’re good at this sort of thing, and they like it.  So that leaves either us or no-one.  I’d very much like it for it to be us.

    • #34
  5. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

     But it just seems to me that it is somewhat unseemly for conservatives to get bogged down with “who said the most ridiculous thing this week” memes while most of us seem to agree with the idea that such things are unseemly and a product of an unhealthy political culture.” Sayeth Adam.

    If we don’t point out the ridiculous, unseemly and unhealthy things the progs say and do, who will? Does the air get very thin up there on your high horse? In every war (symbolically speaking) most of the fighting is done in the trenches. The other side always rallies around its wounded while we turn our backs on our own at the first sign of a paper cut. Sorry Adam, take some smelling salts and get over it.

    • #35
  6. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    cdor:If we don’t point out the ridiculous, unseemly and unhealthy things the progs say and do, who will? Does the air get very thin up there on your high horse? In every war (symbolically speaking) most of the fighting is done in the trenches. The other side always rallies around its wounded while we turn our backs on our own at the first sign of a paper cut. Sorry Adam, take some smelling salts and get over it.

    In an ideal world, no one would pay attention to the ridiculous things wingnuts say, precisely because they’re ridiculous.  Look, if you’re fighting with a pig, don’t get down in the mud with it – the pig just likes it.  Similarly, when arguing with a progressive, don’t get caught up in who can be the most ridiculous.  The progressive likes it, and is better at it than you.  Attack elsewhere.

    • #36
  7. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Adam Koslin:

    cdor:If we don’t point out the ridiculous, unseemly and unhealthy things the progs say and do, who will? Does the air get very thin up there on your high horse? In every war (symbolically speaking) most of the fighting is done in the trenches. The other side always rallies around its wounded while we turn our backs on our own at the first sign of a paper cut. Sorry Adam, take some smelling salts and get over it.

    In an ideal world, no one would pay attention to the ridiculous things wingnuts say, precisely because they’re ridiculous. Look, if you’re fighting with a pig, don’t get down in the mud with it – the pig just likes it. Similarly, when arguing with a progressive, don’t get caught up in who can be the most ridiculous. The progressive likes it, and is better at it than you. Attack elsewhere.

    Perhaps progressives are better at it because they know that practice makes perfect.

    • #37
  8. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Basil Fawlty:

    Adam Koslin:

    cdor:If we don’t point out the ridiculous, unseemly and unhealthy things the progs say and do, who will? Does the air get very thin up there on your high horse? In every war (symbolically speaking) most of the fighting is done in the trenches. The other side always rallies around its wounded while we turn our backs on our own at the first sign of a paper cut. Sorry Adam, take some smelling salts and get over it.

    In an ideal world, no one would pay attention to the ridiculous things wingnuts say, precisely because they’re ridiculous. Look, if you’re fighting with a pig, don’t get down in the mud with it – the pig just likes it. Similarly, when arguing with a progressive, don’t get caught up in who can be the most ridiculous. The progressive likes it, and is better at it than you. Attack elsewhere.

    Perhaps progressives are better at it because they know that practice makes perfect.

    That’s one theory.  It may be correct.  My personal theory is that progressives are better at it because progressive positions are always pitched against the status quo, and it’s super-easy to point out the ridiculousness of daily life.  Additionally, progressivism has always been a cause driven by the young, who are also the arbiters of taste and “cool” in our culture.  When it comes to mud-slinging and status-signalling contests, cool beats correct every single time.

    • #38
  9. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Adam Koslin:

    Ryan M:Adam, this is the third or fourth time I’ve seen this same comment from you in different contexts… I’m again going to call BS on it, though.

    [snip]

    First, this is the second or third thread on this exact subject I’ve seen, so I hope I can be forgiven if my reactions were similar.

    Second, you may not care what liberals do in the comment sections of the HuffPo or other liberal-dominated spaces, but from my perspective we really should. The memes and narratives spit out by the various echo chambers have a way of finding their way into mainstream discourse, or at least refining and re-entrenching what already exists. Whether or not some high-living Acela-corridor columnist slags Sarah Palin as “George Bush in lipstick” matters much less than whether the meme is accepted as orthodox by activists and allies. Similarly, there’s a limit to the harm Mr. Gabriel could do by going on CNN and slamming Hilllary’s looks. Unfortunately, conservatism can be greatly damaged if the rank and file of the conservative movement allows itself to focus on such things. We’re better than that…or at least I think we ought to be.

    I think my follow-up comment was more apt…  I don’t think Jon was piling on Michelle at all, only saying that her statements were demonstrably false.

    • #39
  10. FloppyDisk90 Member
    FloppyDisk90
    @FloppyDisk90

    I think my follow-up comment was more apt…  I don’t think Jon was piling on Michelle at all, only saying that her statements were demonstrably false.

    Context is key.  Ricochet, like it or not, lives in the “blogosphere” of conservative commentary and that sphere was *lit up* on the subject well in advance of Jon’s post.  Even DocJay had a 100+ thread prior to this.  So I think while “piling on” may be a bit harsh, “redundant” is certainly applicable.

    • #40
  11. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Ryan M:

    I think my follow-up comment was more apt… I don’t think Jon was piling on Michelle at all, only saying that her statements were demonstrably false.

    Fair enough, though I’m still leery of this type of “look what stupid thing this famous person said yesterday!” discourse.  There’s a quote I’ve seen attributed to General Grant (though not anywhere I am comfortable citing as authoritative), and it goes like this:  supposedly when he was newly in command of the Army of the Potomac, he overheard several staff officers speculating about what daring maneuver Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia were going to pull next.  Grant walked over and said “gentlemen, don’t worry about what General Lee is going to do to us.  Think instead about what we are going to do to General Lee.”  I think conservatives ought to spend a lot less time worrying about the crazy things progressives are saying and doing, and a lot more pondering exactly how we’re going to build and maintain a society that comports with our values and goals.

    • #41
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    What did she say?  Something very close to:

    No matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you strive to be a good citizen, for some folks, it is never enough!

    Right on, Michelle.

    Look in the mirror, why don’t you?

    • #42
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Adam Koslin:

    We’re better than that…or at least I think we ought to be.

    I’m not.

    • #43
  14. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Very late to the party here, Jon. (Power was out for most of yesterday.). It strikes me that your title might read: “Oh, Look! Michelle Is *Still* Complaining.” I’m not sure there was enough of a pause for ‘again’ to be accurate.

    • #44
  15. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @DougWatt

    Perpetually aggrieved students and professors found a perpetually aggrieved speaker to send them out into the world on what should have been a day filled with joy and optimism, priceless.

    • #45
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    It’s like she’s the female equivalent of Michael Moore. No matter how much success and money she makes she is utterly incapable of saying anything good about a country that lets them live better than the Kings of Medieval Europe and the Consults of Rome.

    Please tell me if I am I thinking in terms of vulgar class warfare, but it feels like sandpaper to my skull when a one percenter can only complain about how unfair America is.

    Is it a nasty dip into identity politics?

    At some level it’s also personal: once Barack Obama starts making millions in speech fees and book deals she will be the top 0.1 percent and the top 0.0001 percent of human beings who have ever lived.  It speaks poorly of her that minor slights against her leave a deeper impression in her psyche than an Emperor style lifestyle.

    • #46
  17. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Henry Castaigne:It’s like she’s the female equivalent of Michael Moore. No matter how much success and money she makes she is utterly incapable of saying anything good about a country that lets them live better than the Kings of Medieval Europe and the Consults of Rome.

    Please tell me if I am I thinking in terms of vulgar class warfare, but it feels like sandpaper to my skull when a one percenter can only complain about how unfair America is.

    Is it a nasty dip into identity politics?

    At some level it’s also personal: once Barack Obama starts making millions in speech fees and book deals she will be the top 0.1 percent and the top 0.0001 percent of human beings who have ever lived. It speaks poorly of her that minor slights against her leave a deeper impression in her psyche than an Emperor style lifestyle.

    She and her adoring husband are chusma.

    • #47
  18. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Simon Templar:

    Henry Castaigne:It’s like she’s the female equivalent of Michael Moore. No matter how much success and money she makes she is utterly incapable of saying anything good about a country that lets them live better than the Kings of Medieval Europe and the Consults of Rome.

    Please tell me if I am I thinking in terms of vulgar class warfare, but it feels like sandpaper to my skull when a one percenter can only complain about how unfair America is.

    Is it a nasty dip into identity politics?

    At some level it’s also personal: once Barack Obama starts making millions in speech fees and book deals she will be the top 0.1 percent and the top 0.0001 percent of human beings who have ever lived. It speaks poorly of her that minor slights against her leave a deeper impression in her psyche than an Emperor style lifestyle.

    She and her adoring husband are chusma.

    She and her adoring husband are also ingrates.  Which is, in my opinion, worse.

    • #48
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.