For Michelle Obama, What Is Wrong With Strong?
In blog entry at CNN, author Farai Chideya tackles the stereotyping of Michelle Obama as an angry black woman. She says that strong first ladies have had one set of challenges, while the first African-American first lady faces another: the difference between being "strong" and being "angry."
... Strength is not anger, but anger can be a catalyst for feats of strength. When I think of an a truly angry black woman, I think of Fannie Lou Hamer. A sharecropper, she was sterilized against her will during an unrelated operation. Her “Mississippi appendectomy” was one of the injustices that led her to join the civil rights movement and send a freedom delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention. Was she angry? Hell, yeah. Was her cause just? Absolutely. She turned the stereotype of the angry black woman on its head.
Michelle Obama grew up in a working-class black family; saw her first roommate at Princeton move out because the student’s parents didn’t want their daughter sharing space with a black woman; became a lawyer; ran Public Allies Chicago; and of course, married the man who would be President and had two beautiful daughters with him. It’s worth reciting her history just to make it clear how strong she must be. If that fact makes some people angry... well, too bad for them. But if the first lady feels she has to hide her strength to survive Beltway politics, then, too bad for our culture, and too bad for us all.
Read Farai Chideya's entire blog entry at CNN.