While a senior at Princeton University, Michelle Obama wrote her thesis on "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community." That thesis was, for months, the subject of speculation until the campaign released it in February, after which it was lambasted by many on the right (I'm only going to link to one article because the rest are even more nauseating in their ignorance) for being an example of Michelle's supposed reverse racism blah blah blah. The Boston Globe this weekend has a long piece about Michelle's collegiate experience in which she was one of 94 black students in a class of 1,141. Most of the students, by all accounts, felt pretty marginalized and she described the experience thusly: "I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong." Naturally, to some on the right (who have never once been in the minority), this means she some sort of activist type out for black separatism or whatever those types of crazy people think about people who write about feeling marginalized when they, you know, probably are. Anyway, but this is always how it begins, right? If you can't make voters dislike the candidate, make sure they know he's got a smart wife, it means he's obviously pussy-whipped.
There have been a few articles here and there about how the right is dusting off its old playbook from 1992 to tar Michelle Obama with the same brush they so successfully used against Hillary Clinton. And, hey, why not! She's an Ivy League educated lawyer, obviously deeply respected by her husband, whose career paid their bills while he pursued more lofty ambitions. She isn't a potential First Lady in the model of Laura or Barbara Bush, all adoring looks and quiet charm, she's smart, outspoken, not incredibly inclined to political diplomacy and obviously protective of her husband.
Also, she's black. And, of course, that comes with a whole host of other issues, including the ability for people to think things like "Hey, Obama rhymes with baby-mama" and to comment on her physical appearance in a myriad of ways both insulting to women and African-Americans. One of my favorites thus far, was a post on the "Hillary is 44" site, since removed but immortalized here, that called her "lantern-jawed," because it's so appropriate to mock a woman for her bone structure.
Anyway, so for being a strong woman who isn't simpering around her husband, Michelle Obama is gonna be in for a rough ride, and I hope that the same people who are running around yelling about sexism in the primary start watching the general because Michelle is the new Hillary, and it's going to be ugly (which neither of them are).
Michelle Obama Thesis Was On Racial Divide [Politico]
Are We Getting Two for One? [Slate]
Learning to be Michelle Obama [Boston Globe]
Hey Feminists—Why No Love For Michelle Obama? [Glamocracy]
On Michelle Obama, Sexism And Ill-Considered Rhymes [Glamocracy]
Michelle Obama: Ain't She Woman [Racialicious]