Monday, August 25, 2008

Michelle My Belle

I thought I already had had my Michelle Obama moment. It was way before that purple dress with the Azzedine black belt too... When I realized who she was, merely by watching her on Larry King, I also realized she was just as good if not better than he was.

I was very proud today because what Michelle had to do was come and defend herself, and that is a hard challenge when you know you have nothing to be defensive about. She had to fight the ghosts of the Angry Black Woman panic. She had to fight the ghosts of gender treason. She had to fight the ghosts of what it means to be a woman of exceptional achievement, descendent from slaves, in a 200 year old country drunk in its own race theatrics.

She had to manage to manifest a truth, a real spirit, a human being across endless smoke and mirrors. It is sadly a very familiar experience to many women like us, this self-alienation at the hands of other people's perception of you. Racism's meaning to me is fundamentally the realization that independent of who you actually are, someone will presume to understand something about you from the mere accident of your pigment. It is like convincing people that you are not Pinocchio but a real live boy (rather a real girl) on a daily basis.

Her challenge was immense and what made me cry with pride was not just that she talked about motherhood and of her knowing that he loves the children she had with him (a very subtle nod to a community of women where that is not the norm). What did it for me was the way she obviously stood there, just knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was woman enough for this job. It felt to me like Michelle Obama, just like I suspected, was supremely confident. Just like I suspected, and knew, and hoped and well, just like I needed.

All Hail The First Lady. She killed at the Democratic National Convention.