Michelle Obama has done an interview with MSNBC, and some folks are up in arms.

If you want to hear the Michelle Obama interview, go here.
Transcript is here.

Here’s the ‘controversial’ quotes by Michelle Obama:

BRZEZINSKI: The polls are showing your husband is trailing Hillary 46% to 37% in the African-American community. What is going on here?

OBAMA: First of all, I think that’s not going to hold. I’m completely confident. Black America will wake up and get it, but what we’re dealing with in the Black community is just the natural fear of possibility. You know, when I look at my life, you know, the stuff that we’re seeing in these polls has played out my whole life. Always been told by somebody that I’m not ready, you know, I can’t do something. My scores weren’t high enough. There’s always that doubt in the back of the minds of people of color. People who have been oppressed and haven’t been given real opportunities that you never really, that you believe somehow, someone is better than you. You know, deep down inside you doubt whether you can do it because that’s all you’ve been told is, no, wait. That’s all you hear. And you hear it from people who love you, not because they don’t care about you, but they’re afraid. They’re afraid that something might happen.

Brzezinski: It’s interesting you say that, excuse me, because the stewardess yesterday, a 52 year African American and I asked her are you interested in Barack Obama and would you vote for him and she said I don’t think so because he probably can’t win because he’s black.

Obama: That’s right, that the physiology that’s going on in our souls and our heads and I understand it, I know where it’s coming from you know and I think it’s one of the horrible legacies of racism and discrimination and depression you know it keeps people down in their souls in a way where you know sometimes they can’t move beyond it. But the truth of the matter is that that’s something we’re gonna have to get over as a community and you do it by forging ahead fearlessly. I would not be where I am, I wouldn’t have gone to Princeton, I wouldn’t have gone to Harvard I certainly wouldn’t be a practicing attorney, neither would Barack if we listened to that doubt. You know, and there are a lot of kids who I know who aren’t pushing themselves or going for what they know they can do because of that doubt. We have to move beyond it not just for Barack in this Presidency, but for the future of our community we’ve got to show people of color a different possibility. And I think that once they see what’s possible then they own it, they believe it, I think that some black folks think that Barack won’t win because the white people won’t vote for Barack.

Brzezinski: Now it seems like you are almost, or you are speaking directly to the Black community here about this psychological barrier this fear of possibilities, you have Wall Street journal doing a front page article about whether or not a qualified African American can win the While House, to those who say Barack Obama cannot possibly win the election because he is black what do you say?

Obama: I say wait and see you know wait and see. Barack has been doing stuff he’s not supposed to, I’m used to doing stuff that people told me I wasn’t supposed to do that’s my whole life. It’s like ok here we go again you know telling me I can’t do something before I even try. I mean, that’s just not healthy. It’s just not healthy. It’s not healthy for people, it’s not healthy for young people to hear those messages from anyone because it’s not true. It’s like me going into your house and telling your daughter who she’s going to be today. You wouldn’t allow that.

Brzezinski: And she wouldn’t either.

Obama: And she wouldn’t either, but fortunately she already has the self-assurance to know who she can be. Now you imagine millions of children who don’t have that. They don’t have parents who were affirming them you know they don’t go to schools where teachers were affirming them. Everyday they hear what they can’t be. The Wall Street polls don’t even begin to touch on that. That’s why I’m like give it up, stop it, because you can’t start polling now, you’ve gotta start at the root cause of this. This stuff is deep and we haven’t touched it as a nation. We don’t deal with pain that has been caused by racism and division. We don’t deal with it. And then we’re surprised when it rears its head among whites and blacks. We haven’t dealt with it and it’s hurting all of us. It’s hurting all of us. We can’t afford to have generations of children of any race believing they can’t be exactly who they think they should be.

Are we really going to say that Michelle Obama is lying? That she’s imagining about the fear in our community? Or have I not read the articles that I’ve read about Obama and the Black Community. I don’t have to read any articles about Obama and the Black community – I live Obama and the Black community. Most days my radio is tuned into the Black Talk Radio station where I live. I hear the views of those active who want to discuss the issues, and I’ve heard it all when it comes to Barack Obama.

I have my own family and our discussions about Obama. The generational split is pretty evident: I, my sisters, my cousins, 50 and younger, we were on board with Obama from the beginning. We’ve actually had to discuss, to debate, to convince our older relatives about Obama.

Black folk, by nature, are a conservative lot. Our survival in this country has depended upon it.

If you accuse Michelle Obama of imagining what she said, dare I remind you of a NYTimes article not one month ago.

Money quotes:

“I’ve got enough black in me to want somebody black to be our president,” she said in her tiny beauty shop, an extension of her home, after a visit from an Obama organizer. “I would love that, but I want to be real, too.”

Part of being real, said Ms. Vereen, whom everyone calls Miss Clara, is worrying that a black president would not be safe.

“I fear that they just would kill him, that he wouldn’t even have a chance,” she said as she styled a customer’s hair with a curling iron. One way to protect him, she suggested, would be not to vote for him.


Another striking theme that emerged in the interviews was how often these women described an almost maternal concern for Mr. Obama’s safety, which they take seriously by noting that he was given Secret Service protection in May, earlier than any presidential candidate ever except Mrs. Clinton, who already had protection as a former first lady. The assertion this year by Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, that as a black man he could be shot “going to the gas station” has done little to quell their fear.

This was a topic in Carrie’s Magic Touch. One customer, Maria Hewett, 63, a retired factory worker, told the others she would probably vote for Mr. Obama despite her fear that he could be a target.

“Things happened with presidents in the past, and they weren’t African-Americans,” Ms. Hewett said, sitting in one of two big barber chairs, her hair in curlers. “President Kennedy was a good person, and somebody took him down,” she said, prompting a chorus of “that’s true, that’s true.”

Still, she added, “Hillary’s husband has a lot of wisdom and knowledge, and that will help her.” This elicited another round of “that’s right, that’s true.”

“Whoever it is,” she concluded, “we just ask the Lord to bless them and take care of them.”

Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democratic state representative from Orangeburg, S.C., who has not endorsed anyone in the primary, said she had heard black women say they were afraid for Mr. Obama. “This really troubled me,” Ms. Cobb-Hunter said. “Maybe it’s a Southern thing. They want to protect him from the bad people, and in order to protect him, they won’t support him. They want to see him around, making a difference.”

Tonya Thomas, 46, and Tina Thompson, 45, both involved in early childhood education, discussed their internal struggle over whom to support as they talked with a reporter after the breast cancer walk. Ms. Thomas said she liked Mrs. Clinton but was not “totally sure.”

“Men have been running the country for a while, and I’d like to see a woman in office,” she said. “Personally, I don’t feel the country is ready for an African-American,” she said, adding matter-of-factly, “He would be killed.”


From the Washington Post:

Most of Bell’s customers have said they are looking hard at Clinton and Obama. Former senator John Edwards of North Carolina is a distant third, polling in the low single digits among black women here. Bell initially found the candidates so similar on the issues that they were hard to distinguish, so she made her decision based on her sense of their electability.

“I’m not even thinking about color, but I guess in a way I am. I think basically white people won’t vote for him,” Bell said of Obama. “Isn’t that what voting is all about? You are voting for a person that you feel could be a winner.”

That pessimism that a black man could ever become president is a powerful force, even for Obama supporters such as Gaynell Wise, 51, an accountant who was getting her hair cut the day Champaign came into Passion Slice.

“I’m voting for him. I’m old-school. I know what’s going on,” she told Champaign. “He’s trying to take this country someplace it’s never been before. It’s going to take a lot for him to win. I know that. I know the system is not set up for him to win. It’s going to take a miracle and a lot of prayers for him to win. If you can get us to vote . . .” Most of the salons Champaign visits are frequented by younger women, who polls show have been more likely than their elders to vote for black presidential candidates.

Now, explain to me how these previous passages don’t reek of fear. Tell me how Mrs. Obama’s comments don’t directly address the issues raised in the above stories. To Mrs. Obama’s critics – if you’re Black, please stop pretending that she’s getting these ideas from the sky; you know better.

Since the beginning of his campaign, I have said routinely that I DO NOT KNOW if White People are ready to SERIOUSLY vote for a Black man for President of the United States of America.

I only know that I want THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION.

I don’t know many Black folk that have drunk the ‘ Kool Aid’; I think far more are just willing to give the man a chance to run the best race possible. I respect his sheer nerve to get out there and run for President. I believe that every month he lasts in there, has to be a positive. It has to be. This republic has to know that a credible Black candidate can run for the Presidency, and the country won’t fall apart. That it will survive for another day.

UPDATE: An Article from Alabama that makes Michelle Obama’s Point.

Related Posts with Thumbnails