A Portrait of the First Lady as an Angry Young Woman

Michelle Obama has recently taken issue with her critics for allegedly perpetuating the idea that she is an "angry black woman."  "That's an image people have tried to paint of me, since, you know, Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman," she told CBS. 

"Who can write about how I feel?" she went on. "Who? What third person can tell me how I feel, or anyone, for that matter?"

One does not have to take a leap of faith to believe Mrs. Obama to be an "angry black woman."  It is nothing more than a logical conclusion given the evidence she has provided.  

"For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country."

These are the words of Michelle Obama in 2008, said in response America's energetic reception of Barack Obama. And clearly, they are the words of an angry person.  A person who is so undeniably resentful of this nation that has provided her with a path to education and affluence that she can boast only having become proud of it when her husband was considered for the presidency and a fundamental change to its character was embraced.

This resentment stems, at least in part, from her early days of adulthood at Princeton.  While there, she produced a thesis that offers little more than derision for the prevalence of "white culture" in American academia and a lamentation that blacks who attend universities (particularly prestigious ones, like Princeton) come to identify more with the "White community" than the "Black community."  In a time in history when America sought to destroy once and for all the racial divisions lingering from our roots dating back to the European aristocracies, Michelle Obama harbored too much resentment and anger to commit to the abolition of these dividing lines.  Instead, she insisted that measures and studies should be undertaken to "improve the overall quality of college education for Blacks," a suggestion requiring that it be obligatory that the "Black" and "White" communities remain entirely separate notions.  

So apparent is her anger and resentment for "White" America that Lee Cary pointed out in an American Thinker article from 2008: "While Barack is the softer, social justice side of black liberation theology," [which his mentor Jeremiah Wright has studied diligently] "Michelle is the harder, anti-white supremacy side." 

After all, how could she make the statement that she had never in her adult life been proud of America unless this were so?  As Mr. Cary points out, in her "adult life," the Berlin Wall fell, liberating East Germany and signaling the end of Soviet Union's existence, which was undoubtedly among the most oppressive and murderous regimes the world has known.  Also in her "adult life," America had liberated Kuwait from the genocidal machinations of Saddam Hussein, protecting Kurdish Muslim sects from annihilation.  To not have taken pride in these events as a younger woman, Cary argues, can only result from believing that the fall of the Soviet Union was merely the victory of one "racist system that has long exploited non-white, Third World countries" over another.  And it would have required a belief that the liberation of Kuwait was only the result of "white supremacist" politicians' exercise of oil-sequestering and greed, not an example of America's positive role in world affairs.

But perhaps the most convincing reason for her racially motivated anger toward America is found in her thesis.  She lambasts the Princeton alumni for pursuing traditionally "White" endeavors, and thereby losing identification with the "Black" community.  By virtue of the condescension in this suggestion, coupled with her saying that she has never in her adult life been proud of America, it suggests that she is proud only "because she, a black woman, earned a degree generally reserved for whites" --  not because America provided her the avenue to her world-class education. 

I cannot say that I will ever understand the plight of African-Americans in this country.  I have never lived it.  But I can say this:  we should be better, as a nation, than harboring resentment and anger at a racially determined "community," as it is clear that Michelle Obama has done in her "adult life." 

And I can say that it is possible.  Having enjoyed a multicultural background demanding the integration of two previously exclusive cultures, the members of each of my parents' families have, at one time uncomfortably, had to come to terms with a new and different path for our family' future.  And through time and mutual inclusion, I recall my paternal grandmother, born in England, and my maternal grandmother, born in Mexico, thoroughly enjoying one another's company in their final years.  Race, culture, background -- none of that mattered to nearly the extent that Michelle Obama focuses on them in her Princeton thesis. And if we can relinquish any lingering resentment, and if we resolve to look upon one another as Americans rather than members of racial communities as she has insisted upon, it will be a step forward for all Americans.

Mrs. Obama, your image as an "angry black woman" is not an image we've painted of you.  This is an image you've masterfully painted for us all.

William Sullivan blogs at: politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com and can be followed on Twitter.

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