After publishing my piece on Michelle Obama at Pajamas Media, I remember why I so seldom write political stuff anymore. Idiots, like mosquitoes in the summertime, start swarming and no matter how much I swat I can’t rid myself of the pesky little things.
The latest is “Brad”, who left such a knee-jerk an ignorant response here on EV that I had to pause and chuckle (okay, cackle) before deciding I was long overdue for a Fisk. And so, without further ado, it’s time to start swatting the idiots:
It’s amazing how people can easily embrace their inner racist so easily like you Kate have. Revising history as you did takes real talent and a disregard for facts.
Facts? You want facts? Well, let’s see: my article at PM linked plenty of references. Where are yours? Oh, that’s right: you reached past your head to pull assertions out of your ass. Quite the limber one you are, no?
Michelle Obama grew up in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago. That’s a documented fact.
If by “working class” you mean that her parents both held jobs then, fine. So did mine. So do most peoples’, for that matter. Are you saying I should applaud that two black adults held down jobs? Why, that sounds a bit racist to me, Brad.
And as for her humble origins, they look like rather nice digs to me:
As I mentioned in the article, her family income was $42,686. At the time, the U.S. Census shows the median income for a U.S. family was $13,720, and poverty level for a non-farm family of 4 was $5,500. So pardon me if I personally think that making over 3 times the poverty level means, by definition, one does not come from an impoverished family. I didn’t write the dictionary; I just happen to read it. Might want to look into that yourself, Brad.
So, yes, she can empathize with working people who struggle for paychecks. It’s amazing how you can dismiss the hard work of a young woman who succeeded at both Princeton and Harvard Law.
She can empathize with it, really? When, exactly, did she learn to do that: was it while attending the highly-selective magnet school she attended for high school? Or was it while she attended Princeton on scholarship? Or Harvard Law? Just curious, Brad. I mean, you seem to know so much about her past… and yet you haven’t provided me with any example of Michelle Obama’s work history prior to earning a lawyer’s salary.
Why is it so easy for you to not acknowledge the effort that took or the triumph of that challenge? Why is her rise not worth lauding?
Okay, fine, I’ll say it now: graduating from Princeton and Harvard Law school is impressive. Now, tell me: what is it about those accomplishments should in any way reflect Mrs. Obama’s ability to understand, say, what it’s like trying to afford health care (a standard perk for attorneys) when you’re working as a waitress (something Mrs. Obama hasn’t done)?
If you did your homework, you would have learned that Michelle Obama left a major law firm to take a much lower paying job with the City of Chicago. After succeeding at that job, she took an even lower paying job working for a non-profit.
I did my homework, Brad. Obama’s “much lower paying jobs” included a stint as the Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago and another as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. Neither are exactly low-paying: last year, for instance, the assistant to the mayor made $111,900. If that’s “a much lower paying job” I can only imagine what her income was like as an attorney at a high-powered law firm like the Chicago office of Sidley Austin.
Of course, her salary while working as Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies (a job which, incidentally, is currently available) was based on experience. I do note, however, that the non-profit says: “In order to attract highly qualified candidates, Public Allies offers a competitive benefits package and professional development opportunities.” In other words, Executive Directors, even of non-profit groups, don’t earn piddling amounts, either, Brad.
But maybe that accounts for why she became the Associate Dean for Student Services at the University of Chicago. (Also not a low-paying job.) And from there? Well, she went on to become the Vice President for Community and External Affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals, a position which she was still working on a part-time basis when the campaign began.
As for homework, check out the Obamas’ tax returns and remember, AGI is after itemized deductions:
You don’t understand what life is like for many people of color in the United States.
You’re right: as someone who’s Native American and Iranian I just don’t get all that minority thang. Why, my ancestors have never been discriminated against. My ethnic heritage is never treated differently than others. Nope, there’s nothing about my background that could in any way make me sensitive to having been stereotyped.
It’s easier to pretend that you do and then make ill-founded judgments because you lack the appreciation of experience or deliberate ignorance that a simple trip to the library would end.
You mean, “do what you say and not what you do”, right?
I’m a man. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. If I were writing about women, I would research their perspectives before I presumed to know every thing.
Bully for you. And on behalf of my gender let me just thank you now. Because, you see, I’m going to presume that also means you don’t classify women as bimbos ever, since you haven’t personally experienced being, say, an attractive blond female with a killer body and therefore don’t know whether such a woman would be socialized to think her intellect isn’t as important as her boobs. Likewise, you’d never look at an overweight woman and think of her as a fat cow because, having not birthed babies and raised them while trying to juggle a career, motherhood and marriage, you have no idea whether she gained weight from turning to food as a source of comfort, or whether her hormones just got the better of her.
Do you have any real friends who are African-American? Did you talk to them before writing this hit piece?
Sure I do. Why, some of my best friends are…
I live in a town that’s 50% black. I regularly hang out with black friends. I’ve always done that. Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in San Jose? (For your reference, it’s a rather large, racially diverse city.)
But if you think that spending time around black people when you’re not black yourself makes you “get” the whole black experience thing then you obviously didn’t read Mrs. Obama’s thesis. That was, in its own way, her point: integrationist lifestyles separate a person from truly understanding the “plight” of lower-class blacks. (Her words, not mine.)
Reality check: claiming supporters who are black, white, and brown is not being racist. It’s recognizing the fact that people of different backgrounds are coming together.
Describing people by their skin color means continuing to describe them as discrete racial groups. In big, fancy terms that’s known as racial classification. In any other context such racial classification would be offensive. Why isn’t it now? Why not point out what all these supporters have in common — they are voters — than pointing out what makes them different from each other (e.g., their race)?
And, seriously, would someone tell me who the “brown” people are?
I recall Dr. Martin Luther King dreaming of a day when black and white children would be able to play together. Was his “I Have A Dream” speech racist?
In 1964 when such things weren’t allowed? No. That was an admirable goal. In 2008, when black and white children regularly play together and don’t have any idea why that’s such a big deal, continuing to point out the difference implies that it’s something worth noticing. I can’t recall the exact psychobabble term for it, but there’s a condition in which a person’s continual re-living of past experiences, despite things having changed in the meantime, holds them back and keeps them mentally imprisoned in the old mind-set, thus depriving them of any growth that might otherwise occur.
The repeated trudging up of things like Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech as if it were still applicable ignores the progress that’s been made — how most kids don’t even notice or care about skin color, for example. It’s insulting to those people who have rejected the racist attitudes of the past and it’s insulting to those who once lived through them to liken today’s climate with the horrors they once put up with.
It is impossible to get past the issue of race, Brad, until we stop making race an issue!
Moreover, your implication that Michelle Obama is somehow anti-white is interesting. Where’s your proof? Oh, that’s right you don’t have any. The mysterious tape was a hoax. (What Republican race-baiters don’t seem to understand is that the only one in 2008 who use the term “whitey” are white people trying to paint someone black as racist. That is a term from the 1960s. It’s not in use by African-Americans for the last 30 years. You won’t find it in popular cultural or colloquial speech.)
I don’t recall once saying that she’s anti-white. Let me just go check my original article… nope. No mention there of being anti-white. So, naturally, you can see why I wouldn’t offer proof to support something that I didn’t say in the first place. Just like I didn’t mention that fake “whitey” tape: I don’t believe it exists, either. But thanks to your mention of it there will be thousands of people searching for it yet again.
The slice and dice job of her senior thesis was debunked.
Where? By whom? And what “slice and dice job”? I read her thesis. Did YOU? (See note above where it’s rather obvious you either didn’t or don’t understand statistical models, much less the English language, to know what her point was.)
(Have you ever commented about the Republican Southern Strategy? What about the well documented cases of Republican voter suppression in black communities?)
Nope. I haven’t. But you’re gettingn off topic. Wait a second, glancing at the rest of your drivel below I say this is just the start of a pattern.
Then there’s your statement about her marrying a “half-white” man. Well, obviously, someone who is racist wouldn’t marry someone who is the object of her alleged hate.
Again, at no point did I say that she’s anti-white. But that’s okay, Brad. I believe we’ve already discussed a couple of times now the difficulties you seem to have with reading comprehension.
You may want to do a little research to understand that the majority of African-Americans have European ancestry. You know, like Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Chris Rock, etc. So, did it ever occur to you that Michelle Obama has white ancestry, too?
Well, Brad, when she describes herself has having grown up as “a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” I take that to mean she’s black. Now you say she’s got European ancestry in her, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s just yet another thing you’re pulling out of your ass. Or, to quote you, “Where’s your proof?”
But, hey, I can’t say I’d be all that surprised to learn she has European roots. After all, Barack Obama is Brad Pitt’s distant cousin. (Then again, both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush are cousins of Barack, too.)
Even so… so what? First you say that her marriage to a half-white man proves she’s not anti-white… and then you go on to argue that she might be partially white herself.
You know, I can’t help but think that argument is a bit racist in itself, Brad. I mean, here you are pointing out people of mixed-race ancestry as if, by dint of having some European blood in their veins, that makes them somehow better? Different? Miraculous for having accomplished anything of note?
Let me be really clear for you, Brad: I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about race. I could not care less whether a person — or a political candidate — is black, white, “brown” (whatever that is) or freaking polka-dotted. Because I don’t think race matters. Not at ALL. I’m an Equal Opportunity Bitch, I am.
But I maintain that it’s the continued reference to race as a distinguishing feature that is the hallmark of racism!
There was thing called the One Drop Rule that nice racist people but [sic] into law that any person with 1/64 African ancestry would legally be considered black and subject to segregation and other horrific laws. The famous case of Plessy v Ferguson that legalized segregation was about a man who was 7/8th white but considered “black” being forced from sitting in a “whites-only” section of a train.
Yep, horrible case law that. Repugnant. Completely hypocritical and un-Christian if you ask me.
That also happened in 1896, Brad. Over a century ago. Were you on the bench then? Were you even alive? Was Barack Obama? Michelle Obama? Were their parents? No. Neither was I. So tell me, at what point is the past the past? At what point do we in the present stop paying for the idiocy of those who came before us?
And, more importantly, what does that have to do with the original question about whether Michelle Obama is a racist? Or were you just bored?
When most, not all, white American refused to associate with mixed-race people, they were embraced within the African-American community. Have you seen a picture of Adam Clayton Powell or Thurgood Marshall? Have you ever read about Walter White, the blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned head of the NAACP?
Why, yes, I have. But there you go once again seeming to argue that these individuals — all of whom were known to have battled a particularly insidious form of racism due to their bi-racial ancestry — have some bearing on the subject of whether Michelle Obama is a racist. I don’t see the tie-in.
However, since you’re clearly into history, let me also remind you that one of the worst things to have occurred under the Jim Crow laws was the rejection by mixed-race individuals of their black friends and families so they could “pass” as white. Do you understand why they did that, Brad?
It wasn’t solely due to the fact that our ignorant forebears had created a system under which blacks were hopelessly discriminated against and disadvantaged. It was also because those blacks who wanted to “pass” perpetuated the mistaken belief that one race deserved to be superior to another.
Have you ever wondered if someone else might have given an “I have a dream” speech, oh, forty, fifty, even ninety years earlier if only more people said: “Race doesn’t matter, not at all” and meant it?
BTW, “brown people” is a term that many people of color have chosen for themselves. For instance, Indian-Americans claim that for themselves as do many non-white Latinos and mixed-race people. Check out Ultrabrown.com, a site for Indian Americans or read the book “The Soul of Brown People.” Your revulsion at the term just shows your willingness to not understand that other Americans don’t share your world-view and the presumption that your perspective is “normal.”
You do mean Native American, right? As one, let me just tell you that despite being of Native American ancestry (along with Iranian) I’m not brown myself. (See the picture at the top left of your screen.) I’ve never called myself “brown”, for that matter, nor do any of the other Native Americans I know.
But, hey, your patronizing explanation to me of my own heritage — and assumption that I couldn’t possibly understand it — provided a good chuckle. (Okay, make that a cackle.)
Finally, if you want to try to pass off John McCain as a man of the people, it would be pretty hard considering he has 9 houses, had a private lake built because he wanted to fish, and, through marriage, is worth $100 million.
Where, oh where, did I try to pass of John McCain as a “man of the people”? I’m rather confident if you did some searching around here you’d find that I’m not particularly fond of him, either. But obviously, you haven’t bothered to do your homework before imputing beliefs or conclusions to me. Had you done so, much of the foregoing discussion wouldn’t have been necessary (which, by the way, proves your virtuosity at jumping to conclusions).
[Rant about McCain snipped because it has nothing to do with whether Michelle Obama's a racist or not. And note to Brad: feel free to use that "Contact Me" button to send me your thoughts on McCain. It's infinitely easier to respond to your statements than have to come up with my own material.]
But back to your attack on Michelle Obama, how long do people like you think if you keep up with these attacks that Cindy McCain won’t fall under the microscope? Didn’t she commit adultery, steal another woman’s husband? A woman who had suffered a horrible, crippling injury and endured painful and therapy? We could also talk about Cindy’s history of drug abuse and criminal history of writing forged prescriptions to score some drugs.
That’s “back to Michelle Obama”? Brad, you really are both confused and bored, aren’t you? Look, as soon as Cindy McCain starts giving stump speeches for her husband I’ll be happy to jump all over her, too. Happy now?
Now, because your incoherent line of reasoning above leads me to believe you’re the type who pretty much just skims stuff, listens to sound bites and then forms what he’s convinced is an “educated” opinion — which you proceed to spew at anyone who doesn’t see you coming in time to beat it — I’ll summarize it for your convenience:
1. As long as we keep referring to people by their race we are perpetuating racial division;
2. The only way for race to cease being an issue is for us to cease making an issue of it;
3. Michelle Obama repeatedly speaks about people in terms of their race;
4. Michelle Obama wrote her Princeton thesis based on the premise that blacks who mingle with whites can’t understand the “black community”;
5. Michelle Obama’s expressed her “surprise” that her husband won in Iowa by saying “Ain’t no white people in Iowa!”;
6. That statement in and of itself reflects a stereotype about whites: that they won’t vote for a black man (see Item 1 above);
7. Michelle Obama refers to herself as a “little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” (again, see Item 1 above);
8. The voters in Iowa and elsewhere didn’t give a damn about Barack Obama’s race;
9. Nevertheless, Michelle Obama continues to refer to race: hers, her husband’s, and those of voters;
10. If her husband’s race, or hers, shouldn’t matter then why does she keep referring to it?
So, to repeat the question that led you here in the first place: If Michelle Obama isn’t a racist, what is she?