After the election of President Obama in 2008, I was awestruck then as now at how this bi-racial dude with a black wife and daughters could so profoundly move this nation. How millions of white people, young and old, were inspired to change the world from his simple message of hope.
I remember like it was yesterday a conversation with a friend sharing our mutual admiration for the then President-elect. My friend, a well-to-do white lady a generation older than me and I were filled with pride and hope and excited about the prospect of our future. Until she said…
“But my mother who loves Barack can’t get over the idea that a black woman will be in the White House.”
That one statement crept into my soul and solidified into a crevice that will forever influence the lens by which I view the world around me. So when the outgoing President of the United States transitions into teary-eyed Husband-in-Chief during his historic farewell speech, excuse me while a cry a small stream.
“She Didn’t Ask For It”
It started with criticism about her dresses showing “too much arm”. Remember that? Operation Arm-Cover would be just the beginning of the racist attacks on the first black First Lady of the United States.
She didn’t ask for it, but for the love of her husband, Michelle, naturally outfitted with brilliance, class, grace, and beauty served the hell out of our country. And much better than it served her.
“When They Go Low…”
Within the black community, we are painfully aware that our color precedes our merits, both natural and nurtured.
FLOTUS ascended– effortlessly levitating above the ignorance in a way that only a woman of her caliber can. The steelest of magnolias keep their bloom and remain radiant even during the harshest of circumstances. So while the haters hated, Michelle supported her husband, raised their daughters, and honored her mama all while keeping the country healthy. Excuse me while I cry.
You see, Michelle Robinson Obama represents the best in all of us and, most especially, in black women. This society has built-in automatic blinders where a black women is concerned. We are invisible. Sometimes within our own race. So, naturally, I champion the Michelles, Oprahs, Shondas, and Beyonces of the world. What they offer to the world transcends race and other man-made shackles.
Thank You, Michelle
So, thank you for doing the macro version of what millions of black women – all women – do everyday. We do it for our families, communities, and companies. You, sister, did it for an entire country.
God Bless You.