When Michelle Obama delivered a speech over the weekend at Tuskegee University in Alabama, a historically black college, she didn’t waste her breath talking the honor of serving her country as first lady.

She got right in to complaining about the toll being our first African American first lady has taken on her because of our racist society:

“And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited ‘a little bit of uppity-ism.’ Another noted that I was one of my husband’s ‘cronies of color.’ Cable news once charmingly referred to me as ‘Obama’s Baby Mama.’ ”  

Obama said she was subjected to a different set of expectations on the campaign trail in 2008 compared with other candidates’ wives. 

“ ‘What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on?’ … The truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse,” she said.

“But, as potentially the first African-American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?” 

Okay, I’ll answer one of these questions: she is too angry. Mrs. Obama portrays her life and that of POTUS as being circumscribed by the racism of her fellow citizens, a nasty characterization Americans, who have twice elected President Obama to our highest office, simply do not deserve–and certainly not from our first lady:

 “We've both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives. The folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety, the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores. The people at formal events who assumed we were the help,” Obama said. “And those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country, and I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day. Those nagging worries about whether you're going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason. The fear that your job application will beoverlooked because of the way your name sounds.”

Racism is a terrible thing and we all know that it can be subtle and insidious. Still, have the Obamas really experienced “the sting of daily slights” recently? It is highly ironic that Mrs. Obama talks about the Obamas having their intelligence questioned because of their race. C'mon. President Obama was widely hailed as a giant intellect when he came into office. The historian Michael Beschloss said that President Obama had the highest I.Q. of any president.

On one point, the New Yorker cover in the 2008 campaign that featured the Obamas as black revolutionaries, I can see why she was angry, though it was satirical in intent and should not be  a cause for anger eight years later, unless you are the sort of person who collects and nourishes grievances. Mrs. Obama forgot to mention that she has also been on the cover of Vogue and is hailed as a fashion icon. 

Mrs. Obama did urge the Tuskegee graduates to try to do well, despite living in such a racist society. But it was grudging and what one took away from her speech was Mrs. Obama’s anger, feigned for political reasons or genuine. This doesn’t give much credit to the citizens of the nation of which her husband has been president for six years, and it was not the most helpful message for the young Tuskegee graduates who are going out into the world. Thanks to Mrs. Obama, they are more likely to have chips on their shoulders as they confront the task of finding jobs and beginning productive lives.

It is no wonder that race relations are at a low point when a privileged and intelligent woman makes a speech like this.