When the race for the White House went from intense training to the final stretch I was calmly & quietly watching from the sidelines. When the final count was given & the “W” was next to Obama's name, I didn't cry happy tears like my family sharing the moment with me on my sofa. When Barack Obama took office I actually did NOT brave the ridiculous cold to stand in the middle of history. When everyone was breaking their neck to find the dopest T-shirt with our country's first black president I just watched from the sidelines. & then I found an “I heart Michelle Obama” tee.
Having a black president is symbolic for me more than anything else, especially this one, with his diverse ethnic & cultural background. On top of which, I know that THIS first is a first of all firsts for this country & the president's every move is going to be scrutinized unfairly. For this reason, I refuse to discuss Barack Obama's report card with ANYONE. But you bet' not say nothin' bad 'bout Michelle.
Michelle Obama's residency in the White House is far more important, though clearly not separate, than her husband being the president. The collective self esteem of the young black girls I see & work with on a daily basis is about as low as a puddle of ant piss. [DISCLAIMER: generalization coming in 3...2...] Self esteem has fallen out of our vernacular and self pride exists in small quantities. The black women who have been prominent in the media prior to Michelle Obama have been disgraceful to me in some way. All the little black girls I've taught want to be Beyoncé or Hannah Montana (not black, in case you didn't know). Beyoncé & her blonde lace fronts give my Brownins a little more reason not to like their original packaging, giving them fever over wishing to be “light, bright, & damn near white.” A PROBLEM!
Michelle Obama, as the female face of this country, is all Sista, all the time. Hhhhmmmm....that sounds like a T-shirt too. Anyway, Michelle Obama is a brown skinned woman with strong facial features, & a black woman's body (as does Bey, on the body tip). She's youthful & hip. She's managed to be strong & STILL get her man [dispelling the myth that strong black women will grow old alone]. She's a mother with values & ideals & expectations of excellence for & from her children. She can snap a finger as fast as a neck & host dignitaries just as effortlessly. We could've found ourselves with the female version of Barack---safely light skinned & non-threatening to the masses. In my opinion, we lucked up by skipping that. No disrespect to those who fall under that category, but it feels REALLY RIGHT that a black woman who is unmistakably black is living at 1 of the most coveted addresses & giving face time to the WORLD.
The message that sends my Brownins is important to me. It validates their worth and they've not seen that on this level. They can set goals, just like these boys who now know they really can be president, & aim for being the most powerful woman in the United States, & that doesn't necessarily have to mean or stop at being the First Lady. While this concept makes me all tingly for my babies' futures, there are many who just don't get it. They're used to dowdy, older white women being the First Lady. They've been quiet & unattractive & old. Wait...I said that already. Their photos were mostly next to their husbands or sitting in chairs reading to their children. Michelle Obama has been caught jogging, jumping rope with kiddies, gardening, & jet setting with AND WITHOUT her husband. She's traveled with her agenda to combat childhood obesity & she's been taking her daughters to see the world in a fashion they might not have known otherwise. Which of us, white or black, wouldn't do the same thing? What's scary for many is that her face is often captured without Barack in sight, as though she's supposed to be waiting at the White House in an apron, holding the paper in 1 hand & a drink in the other when he returns to their living quarters. Like most black women, for all that sittin' still, she ain't got time.
As a person whose opinion was not asked for, I'm putting it out there that I'm SO PROUD of Michelle Obama. I can't get enough of her. The way she's carrying her role is telling those of you who don't get it to take your gingham scarves & shove 'em. Mammy is dead. I'm going to keep watching & pointing her out to my kids to see. They need to see that someone who probably heard, “yeah....she's cute for dark skinned girl,” has risen in power & status far beyond the Halle Berrys (in talent & appearance) of this country. And she's done so with grace & confidence, diligence & determination, faith & fervor. She has made the abstract more concrete. Like all things that are great, Michelle Obama has haters & naysayers tracking her every breath & movement. Her words & actions will be hung on & then used to hang her because the problem with a phenomenon is usually the people who've yet to, if ever, become one. Keep the news of her & her images coming. I want to see more of ME in her & wish upon the future of my babies who will eventually become First Ladies in their own right, even if none of us ever hear of them.
Watch her move.