You know, I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and a, you know, but that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke those words on CBS This Morning yesterday, during an interview with Gayle King. The interview was in response to a new book, written by New York Times Reporter Jodi Kantor, that describes the inner workings of the Obama White House.
Among the book’s claims is that Obama had doubts about Rahm Emanuel, her husband’s first chief of staff, and that their relationship was “distant and awkward from the beginning.” Obama said she in fact has “never had a cross word” with Emanuel, and that he and his wife are some of her closest friends.
Obama also disputed the portrayal of her as having a more hands-on role in the West Wing than the public would have known, and said she has rarely sat in on senior staff meetings or even visited the West Wing other than for official functions.
“I do care deeply about my husband. I am his biggest ally. … I am one of his biggest confidants. But he has dozens of really smart people that surround him,” she said. “That’s not to say that my husband doesn’t know how I feel.”
People want to believe the claims because they feed into their preconceived notions, she said.
Where did these “preconceived notions” come from? Why do we peons out in the Heartland view The First Lady as an “angry black woman”?
Could it be something she said? Mmmmmm…could be.
Jake Tapper of ABC News reported the following on February 18, 2008:
Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today, would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
Then in Madison, she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”
Some conservatives out there seem to find Mrs. Obama’s quote offensive, wondering why a 44 year old woman never felt proud before today.
Asked for a response to the remark, Obama campaign spox Bill Burton said, “Of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn’t be possible in any other nation on Earth. What she meant is that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change.”
She wasn’t particularly proud of her city, either:
Mrs. Obama worked in the Daley administration between Sept. 16, 1991, and April 30, 1993, according to City of Chicago personnel records. She was hired by Jarrett, then Daley’s deputy chief of staff.
Kantor writes Mrs. Obama “disapproved of how closely Daley held power, surrounding himself with three or four people who seemed to let few outsiders in — a concern she would echo years later with her own husband.
“…She particularly resented the way power in Illinois was locked up generation after generation by a small group of families, all white Irish Catholic — the Daleys in Chicago, the Hynes and Madigans statewide.”
When Jarrett was forced out of City Hall in 1995 — even though she was close to Daley — “the Obamas were horrified, their worst suspicions about the world confirmed.”
While living in Chicago, Michelle and Barack attended Trinity Church and sat under the teaching of Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years.
In fact, on page 293 of his book “Dreams for My Father,” Obama recounts Wright’s “The Audacity of Hope” sermon.
Obama quotes this passage:
It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!
In the March 10th, 2008 edition of The New Yorker, a 10 page article titled The Other Obama, covering the future First Lady was published. Here’s an excerpt:
Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we’re a divided country, we’re a country that is “just downright mean,” we are “guided by fear,” we’re a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day,” she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. “Folks are just jammed up, and it’s gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I’m young. Forty-four!”
Now, for the life of me, I just can’t figure out how we peons in the Heartland ever came up with the notion that the First Lady of the United States of America is an “angry black woman”. Can you?