I have a new post up at Global Comment.
The added benefit of having Barack Obama as president, is that Michelle Obama becomes the first lady. For the first time in American history, an African American female has been uplifted as symbol of grace, beauty and intelligence. Michelle is setting trends, and has been compared to the likes of Jackie O.
Though Michelle has openly stated that her job is to be “mom in chief”, she cannot be oblivious to the terrible burden that she carries of representing black womanhood to the world. Every step, every word, and every expression that she makes is carefully scrutinized in an effort to cast her, and all African American women, back into the role of social obsolescence.
Never has the world watched the actions and the decisions of a black woman the way that it has watched Michelle Obama. We have had our share of sheroes that deserve acclaim, and recognition, but none have been forced to play representative of a race, and a gender, in the way that Michelle has.
Michelle is the quintessential “mystical negress,” and whether she likes that role or not she will have to play it. As a BUPPIE she is a figure that white people of privilege can relate to with a certain amount of ease. It is only when she reveals her blackness and questions the systemic inequality that makes her experience the exception rather than the rule, does discomfort begin to enter the equation.