BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

“American Girl”: The Other Obama

with 6 comments

It was her husband’s day, but my eyes kept drifting towards the stately Michelle Obama, watching the televised inauguration festivities this week.

Check out Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic piece on the “radical normalcy” of Michelle Obama, how she disrupts all stereotypes of the angry black woman. “The first time I saw Michelle Obama in the flesh, I almost took her for white,” Coates writes in the jarring opening of his piece. In a related video segment, Coates tells his father he’s almost more confident about her ability to be first lady than Obama’s as president.

And read this profile of her by my friend Nia-Malika Henderson, who is hot on the first family beat.

“Michelle disrupts a lot of the racial and gender stereotypes that people have about black women, that they are single, unhappy, angry, not very literate, or hustlers, hypersexual, inappropriate, mammy, seductress, I could go on, servant, all of those stereotypes are all out there,” Guy-Sheftall. “I think the dominant culture doesn’t know what to do with Michelle, so they put her in a frame with which they are familiar. The angry black woman stereotype is predictable, we know that one, then when she was not really conforming to that story, then it shifted to her fashion.”

Written by baltimoregon

January 21, 2009 at 1:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

6 Responses

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  1. i agree with the latter point and would add an “and yet”: and yet, she still manages to hang on to her blackness. she reminds me of the aretha franklin song, young, gifted and black. obama, on the other hand, doesn’t seem black at all. (that last statement was non-judgemental.)


    January 21, 2009 at 5:21 am

  2. That’s really their power as a couple, I think. How they both bridge the racial divide and embrace blackness.


    January 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  3. infoglutton – i think you have to be black to be able (allowed?) to say that – but maybe you are


    January 21, 2009 at 5:29 pm

  4. to say what?


    January 22, 2009 at 5:37 am

  5. good point, laura.


    January 22, 2009 at 5:38 am

  6. what you said ! and yet – i’m being semi-sarcastic


    January 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm

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