Columnist Leonard Pitts has an interesting column on how the media and America’s perception of First Lady Michelle Obama has gone from an angry, fist bumping, Angela Davis type militant to a warm, loving first lady and first mom. Her mainstream media perception has gone from this:
Leonard Pitts Jr.
Maybe you remember when Michelle Obama was scary.
Surely you do; it was just a few months ago. A fire-snorting amalgam of Angela Davis and Sister Souljah she was, a militant, terrorist fist-bumping sister girl whose hatred of America was exceeded only by her hatred of “whitey.” Or so we were told.
If you remember all that, then perhaps you are as amused as I am by the transformation of perception that has since taken place, culminating in last week’s triumphant visit to Great Britain where the famously formal queen (“whitey” doesn’t come any whiter than that) stunned royal watchers by putting an arm around the first lady. But why should her majesty be any different from anyone else? Seems like everybody has embraced Michelle Obama.
Pollsters tell us she is more popular than her very popular husband. You cannot pass a magazine stand without seeing her smile. Women are gushing over her toned arms and elegant fashion sense, and she’s being called this era’s Jacqueline Kennedy. Then there’s that whole thing of Elizabeth II throwing an arm around her like they were sorority sisters or something, leaving the British, with their arcane protocol governing every interaction with their monarch down to and including how many times one may blink in her direction, well and truly gobsmacked.
And you wonder how anyone ever thought this woman was scary.
And he states this:
One is reminded that to be African American is inevitably to find yourself defined by other people’s distortions and fears and that the work of a lifetime is to make them see you — not the you that they’ve been told, but the you that you are, standing there.
Consider Michelle Obama. Six months ago, she was terrifying. Now she is beloved. If you’re wondering how that happened, I can only say this: It was not she who changed.
You can read it all here.