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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Michelle Obama's Number 1 Fan

Yahoo offers a section where you ask questions, from "How much do you think this antique costs?" to life advice, and respondents weigh in with their opinions.

I came across this today, from a girl called Isabel:

How can I be more like Michelle Obama?

i luv this woman and i think she is the most beautiful potential first lady ever.. she is very gracious and i love her badass attitude.. how can i achieve her hairstyle and also how can i make America fall in love with me like she has? Mrs Obama gives me butterflies and makes me feel silly inside.. black pride! I'm only half black so im not as good as michelle but im almost there..

michelle makes me tingle.. how can i be just like her?

I understand the hero-worshipping behind this girl's statement. I also have no problems with the desire to imitate hairstyles (my first grown-up hairstyle was called a "Lady Di").

What I don't get, and what is the most troubling of all the statements is this:

"I'm only half black so im not as good as michelle but im almost there..".

Who told her this? Is this her own idea? And why are white people or biracial people particularly susceptible to this kind of attitude?

I'm reminded of the scores of white kids who have taken Senator Obama's middle name, Hussein, and started calling themselves that too:

“My name is such a vanilla, white-girl American name,” said Ashley Holmes of Indianapolis, who changed her name online “to show how little meaning ‘Hussein’ really has.”

There's a phenomenon around both Obamas, and it is about projection: the desirability of being black and therefore cooler than being what one is if white, or if black, of being BETTER than one is.

What is sad is that it's more than a little about self-hatred too: "I'm only half-black so I'm not as good as Michelle"..."a vanilla, white-girl".

If it were only the young, with their impressionable natures, that's one thing. But I've stopped counting the references I've read or heard personally, from much older people too.

With black people, one hears the term "mentoring" constantly.

"Michelle reminds me of the woman who mentored me", I have been told by an acquaintance. She absolutely adores Michelle Obama.

Whilst I've had influences in my life, I don't think I can say I've been mentored by anyone other than my family, particularly my mother and father.

Therefore, I wonder how much the destruction of the family structure within the black community has to do with this phenomenon.

They rely on outside influences to teach them the ways of the world (and a vital role they fulfill too), rather than just culling wisdom from observing those around them. It presupposes that those influences are not good, and hold very little good other than how NOT to behave.

I hope Isabel's emotional investment doesn't come crashing down, because if there is one thing people can count on, is their heroes will always be found to have feet of clay.

Mine did.



  • "she is very gracious and i love her badass attitude" - A dead giveaway. How one can be gracious and have a badass attitude is beyond me. This twit is enamored of a witch.

    By Blogger benning, at Sun Jul 13, 05:46:00 pm GMT-4  

  • How one can be gracious and have a badass attitude is beyond me.


    That can only come from a person who either has been raised to think that's not a contradiction, or is merely very young and doesn't know better.

    But others do.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jul 13, 08:19:00 pm GMT-4  

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