April 11, 2008

Michelle Obama: I Can Only Be Who I Can Be

At Princeton, Michelle (LaVaughn Robinson) Obama wrote a senior thesis entitled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.” Here are some excerpts from her thesis:

“Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.”

“[My Princeton experiences] “will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

“I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.”

“In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community … I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture.”

Well, of course, there is, Mrs. Obama. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The two cultures ARE distinctively different-- just as the poor, working class in our society is distinctively different from the class of the elite--or at least that is according to Senator Obama:

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

That's a statement he made Friday in San Francisco, speaking of small-town America. Read more about that here.

Here's another excerpt from Mrs. Obama's thesis:

"Earlier in my college career, there was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the Black community I was somehow obligated to this community and would utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost.”

And in an interview in Newsweek when asked about possibly becoming First Lady, she said:

"I think I can only be who I can be in this role. And that's going to come with all the pluses and minuses and baggage and insecurities and all the things that I'll bring into it, plus my hopes and dreams along with it.

So, what I am wondering is what can we expect from Senator Obama as President, and Michelle Obama as First Lady?

Who are they, really? What are their true values--and will they be for all the people,or only select groups of people? What are those hopes and dreams, exactly, and what kind of changes do they have in mind?

I don't know, but the more informed I become, the more discomfort I feel.