Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mrs. Obama Goes to Washington

Recently, Mrs. Obama's Princeton thesis was forked over to the media in a rare act of transparency. This was the right thing to do when Princeton pulled the work because of the political season. Now, let's punish that good deed by tearing it apart.
To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and "comfort" level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. ... In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a "separationist and/or pluralist" viewpoint or an "integrationist and/or assimilationist" ideology.
This thesis was fueled by a nagging feeling:
"no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong."
Is it in any way telling that in 1985 she felt there was a massive gulf between whites and blacks--so large even at the Ivy League leftist epicenter she was an outsider? Suggesting that as a black in America she is a member of some underground nation/culture, barely comfortable with only the most hardcore leftists; existing inside, but not part of, America. The first quote in the thesis is from Stokely Carmichael's Black Power suggesting blacks must withdraw and close ranks to gain the power to re-enter society as full members. The next quote is about black political candidates needing to communicate they are for all people not just black people. Ironic, huh?
"I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility."
The question is does she see herself as an outsider to America. Does Princeton represent "white-America" now, and does she harbor some black-separatist viewpoint? The notion in the thesis was something like:
"at Princeton I'm detached from the black community and soon I'll never be truly accepted in either world. And furthermore, my fellow black alumni are losing their identification with the black community and seem not to care"
So then, if in DC will she have to be the outsider navigating white-America? This and some of her other comments may give some unease. Maybe she's right, but something just hits the gut as wrong. "I'm not one of you, and being one of you is a betrayal to my community," is that a fair interpretation? Not exactly equals from creation judging each other by the content of their character, eh?

By the way, FNS is reporting that Mrs. Obama made the same "proud" comments twice in one day, which runs opposite to a minor misspeaking.

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