Thursday, August 28, 2008

DNC Quick Thoughts

Since I am back on wireless courtesy of Airport Express...

Since it IS, after all, 4:45 am

Two quickies:

1)

Mamita Mala represents for WOC Boricua-ness (is that a word???) at the DNC. Read on, read on.

2)

I think that the many notes on Michelle Obama's softer, subtler, warmer image are on point. It sucks that we live in a racist, heterosexist world.

But I guess I just want to remind folks, and myself, that it is very likely that Michelle Obama is not getting "handled" in the particular way that people like to say.

As though all of a sudden, Barack had to get her in check for the good of the campaign.

Right.

Her public image is under construction, for better or for worse, yes. But Michelle Obama is a--excuse my français--grown, ass woman. She made it from the south side of Chicago, through Whitney Young Magnet High School (gratuitous shout out), Princeton, Harvard Law (in the 80s, dude!), and created a successful professional career for herself all on her own BEFORE she met Barack.

And she knows what image is. She knows how to use it. She would have to, after all, to GET that far.

So instead of saying Michelle Obama got handled, or is getting handled, or is being put in check, can we consider instead that

--like any professional woman of color who has had to fight tooth, nail, fist, elbow and sometimes by spiked heel to get to the top of her field--

can we consider that perhaps she is making very conscious choices about how she wants to portray herself in this race, is choosing her clothes, makeup, rhetoric, and appearances accordingly (yes, in that order, because it is still a sexist society that sees a woman in that order), and that this has more to do with her being the successful, brilliant, and fierce Michelle that we all fell in love months, years, ago.

That she has worked the system so far and so well without appearing to lose touch with the realities of life for most people of color, blacks in particular, is mind-boggling to me. I love it. I'm inspired by it.

I can't say the same for every professional woman of color I know.

Which is maybe some in-house work we have to do even while we decry the sexism and racism that forces us to play chameleon between home/office/class/communityservice/daycare/happyhour.


(See a slightly edited version over at YBP)

[Updated: The bloggers who wrote on Michelle Obama were linked to because they gave interesting perspectives that kept her changing image in mind. They were not linked to because they did or did not believe she was being "handled" in the way I am discussing. I was attempting to spread link love to those who were giving smart but varied opinions on her speech. Hope this clarifies!]

4 comments:

prof bw said...

I thought her speech was powerful and put a radical and hopeful face back on the the Obama campaign.

Puff said...

I feel it.

T said...

Love point #2. Point well taken and considered. i.e. CHUUUCH!

And I now see why you were commenting on my blog at the butt crack of dawn. Have fun in Sierra Leone... wait that's not right. Where the heck are you going again... somewhere African and French... this is how your brain functions when you're sick... it doesn't.

Kismet said...

Certainly, prof bw. I very much enjoyed your piece. I will update the post to clarify the link.