At the very moment when the last thing the country needs is more racial divisiveness, President Obama—who will leave behind a nation suffering from more racial hostility than was the case when he took office—and the First Lady pick now to talk to People magazine about the racial indignities they say they have endured.
Good grief. Couldn’t they do this at another time? You’d almost think they want to stir up racial animosity. ABC News reports:
“Barack Obama was a black man that [sic] lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs," Michelle Obama told the magazine.
On one occasion, she said, her husband “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”
President Obama said he's even been mistakenly treated as a valet.
“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys," he said, according to excerpts of the interview released today.
The first lady also described being mistreated at a Target store in suburban Washington, during a shopping trip she took in 2011.
"Even as the first lady," she told the magazine, "during the wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf."
I wonder if Mrs. Obama has considered that perhaps the Target employee didn’t recognize her and thought she was a fellow employee, in which case it would be no indignity to be asked to take something off a shelf. In fact, when somebody asks you to lend a hand, it's not necessarily intended as an insult. I have to agree with columnist John Ransom:
Michelle Obama goes on to say that she’s been mistaken for a worker at Target.
Oh, the horror.
Ransom acknowledges a sad fact: there is racism in this country—on both sides and mostly latent (but not as latent as it used to be before the Rev. Al Sharpton and other racial opportunists did all they could to bring it to the fore). But Ransom goes on to point out that both the Obamas have led privileged lives:
After all, they have not suffered from the real racism endemic to America: The education system has served them both very well; there have been no extended periods of unemployment for either of them; Barack has not been incarcerated over petty drug dealing; if Obama suffers from a shortened life span it will likely because of his smoking, not his race.
Where real racism amongst blacks resides is in education, employment, incarceration and longevity. And Michelle and Barack have no real experience in actually solving any of those problems. In fact, Obama killed the one education program in D.C. aimed at giving blacks an equal footing in regards to education.
And oh, let me tell you, that’s horrible.
And racist too.
The Obamas have every right to tell their stories of race-based, personal grievances, but surely it would not be too much to ask them to tell the whole story: you know, the story that includes his election to the highest office in the land.
There might be better times for them to air these stories than in the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson riots.