23 May

Michelle Obama: Blacks Who Assimilate Into “White Culture” Are Uncle Toms [Reader Post]

                                       

Barack Obama is getting a little nervous that his wife’s rants will torpedo the election, so he issued a stern warning yesterday to her would-be critics.

“But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable,” he said.

Obama praised his wife’s patriotism and said that for Republicans “to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class … and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable.”

First of all, this is low class. The Dems, having perfected the art, apparently don’t want the Republicans to get that dirty.

Since I didn’t get the memo about laying off Michelle and since she has voluntarily weighed in on the issues of the day, her views are fair game. Politics ain’t beanbag Barack.

Michelle Obama wrote her Senior Thesis at Princeton, on the issue of whether black Princeton alumni changed their views on black/white relations as a result of their Ivy League education. The Politico has the full document here.

Her views on race are frankly, offensive and racist. Her worldview on the topic is entirely “Us versus Them.” She sees two cultures, with the Whites making the Blacks (she uses caps for the races) feel like outsiders. Note that even the “tolerant” liberals on an elite college campus are racists too. Well, we know when the liberals are intolerant, imagine what it must be like to have conservatives around. All emphasis mine.

I have found that at Princeton 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. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich [sic] I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.

And because Whites are irreparably racist, she decides to forgo assimilation into White culture and chooses to focus only on Blacks.

These experiences have made it apparent to me that the path I have chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to the further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant. This realization has presently, made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit the Black community more desirable.

I guess we are giving up on “Whitey,” because there really is nothing to be proud of in that “White cultural and social structure,” called America. Let’s do the more desirable thing and actively utilize our resources to benefit the Black community at Reverend Wright’s Black Liberation Theology church.

Oh, and isn’t it a little ironic that the same “White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society” finds her a hair’s breadth from becoming First Lady. She is an angry wretch who chooses to ignore the great opportunities this country has provided her.

She believes that the more a Black person assimilates into White culture (American culture?), the more that person harms the black community.

The more the individual identifies with the Black community the more his attitudes will sway towards a positive relationship with the Black community, however, the more the individual identifies with the White community the more his attitudes will sway towards a negative relationship with the Black community [snip]

However, the more [the Blacks in her study] began spending time with Whites, the more they became attached to and interested in the White community.

I guess you can’t have positive relationships with both communities. We are all one-dimensional. You are with us or you are against us.

And if the Blacks choose to integrate into White society, they actually become Uncle Toms [Fun with words: See if you can pick out the code words for the Uncle Toms – the quotes are hers].

However, with the increasing integration of Blacks into the mainstream society, many “integrated Blacks” have lost touch with the Black culture in their attempts to become adjusted and comfortable in their new culture–the White culture.

I wonder if Michelle Obama will be comfortable in the house The Man built on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bill Dupray at The Patriot Room

About wdupray

Bill Dupray is a lawyer living in Northern Virginia.
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 7:41 pm
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18 Responses to Michelle Obama: Blacks Who Assimilate Into “White Culture” Are Uncle Toms [Reader Post]

  1. wordsmith says: 1

    I have found that at Princeton 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. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich [sic] I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.

    My impression of her, is that she probably carries a racial chip on her shoulder, and walks around, actively looking for signs of racism, and may see it, even where none may exist.

    When I was still in college, I had part-time work as security in a retail store. At first I was uniformed, as a visible deterrent to shoplifters. I took my job seriously, and was good at preventing and catching shoplifters and would-be shoplifters. Because I paid attention to customers. ALL customers. Every single customer who walked into the store, I made a friendly greeting to, and would spend a moment observing their behavior. After a while, I’d only occasionally “check up” on customers who I determined gave me no cause for further scrutiny, initially. It was simple: act normal, and chances are I’d think you were there to shop. Pay more attention to me or the sales staff, roll merchandise up, check through a stack of clothing and pull out the one that doesn’t have a sensor tag, look around a lot, act nervous…..all these behavioral signs is what made me pay more attention to certain people.

    On a couple of instances, I had customers who came into a store and IMMEDIATELY, paid attention to me. And they were black. I am sure that they have probably been unfairly followed around in stores, before. But the problem is, their experience has “contaminated” their shopping behavior, to where they are looking to be followed around. So they are looking for it. And if you’re looking shifty-eyed, angry, or paying attention to sales help and to security….that’s not normal behavior.

    The two customers assumed I was watching them because they were black. I watched them because it was my job, and they drew my attention, because of how they acted. One of them, when I figured out why he was watching me, I had a chance to explain it to him. Shoplifters spend a lot of time watching what security and sales staff are doing. Whether or not they are paying attention. Normal shoppers spend time looking at merchandise, and only look at sales helpers when they have a question and need help. That seemed to clear the air. He realized that he was suspicious of me right away, because I was security. And was staring at me right away. The other person, I did not get that chance of explanation. I am sure, after the fact, that he was a normal shopper as well. But he left in a huff, and unfortunately, he probably had his own preconceived notions reinforced by his misperceived experience with me; and he probably went on to tell others, “yes, America’s a racist country! Why, I’ve been followed around and watched unfairly in stores….” without ever considering maybe it’s his own behavior…maybe a chip he carries on his shoulder, that makes him find validation and confirmation of racism where none is present.

    My college roommates would be considered “Uncle Tom integrated blacks” by Michelle Obama, because they have made good lives for themselves (much like her), not by rejecting so-called “white culture”, but by embracing AMERICAN culture…..they are now doctors, raising good, solid families. And they do not carry chips on their shoulders. Since when does speaking perfectly good English, going to good colleges, and living out the American Dream, constitute being a “sell-out” to the black “race”?

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  3. marinetbryant says: 2

    Growing up in Atlanta and summers in a podunk Georgia town my positive experiences with blacks far outnumber the bad experiences. Maybe it was the deference to whites imposed on them by Jim Crow attitudes but I wasn’t raised that way. A man is sir, a woman is ma’am until they show they don’t deserve, or want that respect, no matter the color of their skin.

    Tom

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  4. suek says: 3

    You point out the crux of the problem. If assimilation is not possible, then we’re forced into two separate groups, defined by skin color. If they are correct, then not only are we separated by skin color, but as haves and have nots. Can you see any way for this to go forward without potential for racial war? I don’t. So what they are cultivating is a warlike mentality against whites who according to them hold all the power. What is the end goal? “We can’t have it so you can’t either”? Are they really willing to pay the price just to “take it away” from whitey?

    I have to confess – I just don’t understand it.

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  5. Bessie says: 4

    Michelles paper was excruciatingly dull, she is far too vapid to ever have the power to insult me.

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  7. Dan says: 5

    I don’t see anything wrong, or more importantly false, with what she said in her paper.

    Then again, I realize that as a white man, the ability of people like me (white males) to perceive racism in America has been historically atrocious.

    So then the obvious question is this: if we have never seen racism as a problem contemporary to the time in which the charges are being made, and if in all generations past we were obviously wrong to the point of mass delusion in thinking this way, what should lead us to conclude that now, at long last, we’ve become any more astute at discerning social reality than we were before? Why should we trust our own perceptions or instincts on the matter, when we have run up such an amazingly bad track record as observers of the world in which we live? In every era, black folks said they were the victims of racism and they were right. In every era, whites have said the problem was exaggerated, and we have been wrong.

    I think the best bet for white folks is:

    1) Stop adopting a defensive posture the very second race topics are brought up.
    2) Stop attempting to ‘flip the script’ by taking on a victim mentality and slinging charges of ‘reverse racism’, as if there even were such a thing.
    3) Shut up and listen. Since we haven’t done it throughout history, let’s give it a try now. Let’s shut up and listen and contemplate non-whites view of things and actually entertain the possibility that what they are saying is the truth. After all, you don’t ask the perpetrator of insults if what they said is offensive…you ask the target. So it is true with racism. Asking whites about racism and what is offensive instead of the TARGETS of said oppression and racism is the ultimate slap in the face. Of course whites won’t see any problems because we’re not on the receiving end.

    This is rudimentary stuff and it gets real tiring waiting for most of my fellow whites to develop even a basic grasp of it.

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  8. Wordsmith says: 6

    Dan,

    There’s some merit in what you wrote; but, your basic premise is flawed, which causes you to draw the conclusions that you do.

    if we have never seen racism as a problem contemporary to the time in which the charges are being made

    Racism was perceived by whites throughout our history. Blacks didn’t end the slave trade. Whitey did. Blacks didn’t push the civil rights movement all by their lonesome. They had help from Whites.

    In every era, black folks said they were the victims of racism and they were right. In every era, whites have said the problem was exaggerated, and we have been wrong.

    Where do you come up with this? In every era, whites have been saying, “Oh, c’mon, man….you’re exaggerating the racism problem….” ?????? They said that in ancient Rome? And racism is unique only unto whites? Blacks weren’t racist? Asians weren’t racist?

    I think the best bet for white folks is:

    1) Stop adopting a defensive posture the very second race topics are brought up.

    How about whites stop being brow-beat all the time into white guilt knee-jerk apologists at the first charges of racism?

    But you’re right: racism is real, and adopting an automatic knee-jerk defensive posture isn’t helpful, either. But is that what this post was? A defensive posture?

    2) Stop attempting to ‘flip the script’ by taking on a victim mentality and slinging charges of ‘reverse racism’, as if there even were such a thing.

    There is such a thing. Amazing that you can’t perceive it. Maybe Shelby Steele’s White Guilt is the book for you. Or Thomas Sowell’s White Liberal, Black Redneck.

    You don’t think “black power” is fixated on race every bit as “white power”? You don’t perceive both as racist attitudes, whether for positive or negative?

    3) Shut up and listen. Since we haven’t done it throughout history, let’s give it a try now. Let’s shut up and listen and contemplate non-whites view of things and actually entertain the possibility that what they are saying is the truth.

    Here, you have a preconception that blacks haven’t been listened to and empathized with (as much as it is possible to empathize without literally walking in another man’s shoes, let alone an entire “race”).

    Maybe you should also take a moment to “shut up and listen” to whites when they point out the race profiteerism going on by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They, as much as anyone, perpetuate racism and make a living off of shaking down people like you.

    After all, you don’t ask the perpetrator of insults if what they said is offensive…you ask the target. So it is true with racism. Asking whites about racism and what is offensive instead of the TARGETS of said oppression and racism is the ultimate slap in the face. Of course whites won’t see any problems because we’re not on the receiving end.

    What is important is dialogue; not rejecting one point of view over the other one. Why does one side perceive the way they do?

    You don’t perceive racist attitudes, when it comes from blacks? I do.

    This is rudimentary stuff and it gets real tiring waiting for most of my fellow whites to develop even a basic grasp of it.

    Well, how fortunate for me, I’m not one of your “fellow whites”.

    I don’t see anything wrong, or more importantly false, with what she said in her paper.


    Medved says it well, toward the end, 4 minutes in.

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  9. Gunner Christensen says: 7

    You realize that Michelle Obama’s freshman year roommate was scared when she, a young white woman, learned that Michelle is black? Unless you were at Princeton at the time, how do you know what the campus atmosphere was like?

    America culture is not “White culture” any more than is “Black culture.” American culture is a synthesis of all cultures with people participating in different levels of that culture. Surely the culture of the Southern whites who strongly defend their cultural heritage is not identical to that of white Italian New Yorkers from Brooklyn?

    It’s also important to understand that as country, the two ethnic groups that have the most significant impact on modern American culture are Jewish and African-Americans. Both groups have been driving forces in music, film, literature, and political thought. What is more American than singing “White Christmas” (written by a Jewish man) or listening to Rock ‘n’ Roll (based on African-American musical tradition).

    The hallmarks of 20th Century American human rights transformation were led in many cases by African-Americans and Jewish Americans, some times in concert and other times separately. Without the Civil Rights movement would there have been the possibility for the success of the Women’s movement or the Gay Rights movement?

    How did the success of the Civil Rights Era improve the stature of the United States globally? The answer is significantly so.

    Are you really going to argue that Jewish Americans have not experienced life differently from let’s say Irish Catholic Americans or Protestant Americans? The non-fiction and literature of Jews describing their experiences with Antisemitism are not minuscule in their number. There still exist clubs and organizations that deny Jews entry.

    Change the writer from Michelle Obama to a Jewish American describing his experience at an Ivy League school in the 1930s, do you think they would be that different? Have you ever seen the film “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Gregory Peck?

    What is sad about Brad Dupray’s analysis about Michelle Obama’s thesis is the refusal to try to understand how another person can view a situation. Trivializing Obama’s experience and then using outdated slurs like “whitey” (no one but Republicans use that term in this century) obscures the fact that different people experience different realities.

    Refusing to listen to another’s perspective and understanding that those in the minority experience life differently from those in the majority is disingenuous. Any high school nerd will tell you of his/her discomfort and pain at not being part of the majority. Is that experience false? Is there suffering a lie? The football jock or president of the glee club who are at the top of social structure and enjoy a good life don’t share the experience of the nerds. Is their reality the only truth?

    As for the comments about whites being brow-beaten with charges of racism, isn’t that an overstatement in that not all whites are charged as racist?

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  10. Bill Tetzeli says: 8

    Allow me to offer the insight of someone who grew up in Princeton. I lived there from 1973 – 1988, so I’m very familiar with both the town and the University. You will hardly find a whiter part of America. Princeton is the alma mater of Woodrow Wilson and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lawrenceville, the small rural town just to the west, was where John Irving went to prep school and the model for most of his books. How much whiter can you get? There’s even a street constituting the “train tracks” between white and black called none other than Race Street. The town has a very rigid social and economic structure, with the Wall Street commuters and University bigwigs (mostly white) at the top and the blacks doing service jobs at the bottom of the ladder. In fifteen years of living there, I went to exactly one cocktail party that had a black couple, isolating themselves off in the unlit dining room while everyone else was talking in the bright kitchen and living room, looking very ill at ease. Princeton is actually so expensive (Harry Reasoner once said to live in Princeton you had to be “Einstein or rich”) that most of the black people who work in Princeton commute from nearby Trenton. Races in Princeton, both on and off campus, rarely mix. That’s just a fact.

    Given that environment, it’s hardly surprising Michelle Obama felt a sense of isolation and “otherness” at Princeton. It was not her, but the dumb, staring, cowlike inability of whites (and I say this because “it takes one to know one”) to get past the question “How do I deal with this person” to the obvious answer: “Duh! Just like any other person!” I’d seen it in a hundred faces (including my own), heard it in a thousand conversations. That’s because from repeated use the experience whites primarily – almost exclusively – have with blacks is a hierarchical one, with whites at the top. It is rarely a lateral, friendship-based, equal relationship. It’s not Michelle who was separationist, it was white Princeton. Especially given the time she was going to college, when Reagan was seemingly doing all he could to make blacks ashamed of even being black (“welfare queen”, etc.).

    What’s most overlooked in this whole debate is the fact that college students are still mainly studying the world as opposed to living in and experiencing it (especially in Princeton, the ultimate “ivory tower”). Wide generalizations and grand pronouncements are the rule, not the exception, in theses such as Michelle’s, because experience has not yet provided the 1001 exceptions for each belief that create nuance and understanding. Before we judge Michelle too harshly, we should each take a look at who we were in college, the things we believed, the hard knocks that challenged those beliefs once we graduated and how we’ve learned from them. Anyone who’s grown and changed their views since college should be willing to give Michelle the same benefit of the doubt.

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  11. Rose says: 9

    Bill,

    I understand that you’re relating the Princeton of the time to the Princeton or Michelle’s time… however, it ought to be talked about in the past, since that simply isn’t true right now. I live there currently, 2012… and the campus is very mixed… as well as the town, and surrounding Lawrenceville. Our mentalities on campus are much different now.

    Everyone else,

    I’ve not no political tie… so I really don’t sing the praises of either party. This article on Michelle Obama’s past paper isn’t really an effective article pertaining to the campaign. Why? – because she wrote it when America was in a different place. Ms. Obama may have been looked down on in that time period, perhaps feared and ever considered less human. The problem arises when 1. She let’s it affect her judgement now, 2. If she refers to all whites outside of the ones she had a bad experience with in that same manner. It’s when it becomes a collective bigotry against all whites. That’s when it’s racist. 3. If she’s considering any culture blending between blacks and whites an ‘uncle Tom’ situation. That’s simply impossible… we’re American, that is our society/culture. “White and black culture” is sub-culture or blended culture.

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  12. mark says: 10

    How about we all assimilate into black culture, rap, walk around with our pant’s hanging off our assholes, make the ape like hand gestures, grab our crotches, learn to ebonick and turn the entire nation into Detroit?

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  13. I think that of course we are what our raising in had made us, plus constant extra mini experiences,
    personaly, I THINK THAT the schools are for some carrying the OBAMA’S MICHELLE mentality of holding back THE BLACKS
    for example make them all even in grades, which is a false pretence for those who cannot follow the number one smart by being equal smart , they get to believe they are as smart, and eventualy think they can become who they are not really
    and that is what MICHELLE AND OBAMA ARE, although trying hard to be the other
    it prove it with the expectation which are not met in theses last years, he has a crew working also hard to build him higher even overstating , and he will not ever be what they said he is
    that’s what’s troubling the THE WHITES CITIZENS who would rather hear him say and level with them ,instead of showing some type of arrogant BEHAVIOR which is below the bar
    they raise for him to be, that is not fitting with the position of PRESIDENT,
    and lacking the ability to sustain his position the right way he should have
    he is not comfortable and she is not either, it’s putting an act only,
    just by their way of living , it’s obvious

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  14. Kurllytail says: 12

    Blacks are already assimilated, The speak, a European language, eat European food, wear European clothes, black women wear wigs, or straighten their hair out to emulate European hair, they practice a Caucasian religion, the culture they claim is “black” is based off of what they picked up from their European masters as slaves, the assimilation ended centuries ago.

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  15. whiteuncletom says: 13

    i guess it makes sense to associate the first lady with a decades old association of white power with “the man”. yeah that makes sense. both originally relegated to “black” peoples identities (tho not hers but who’s counting)

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  16. Redteam says: 14

    @Wordsmith: #6 Ditto

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  17. Redteam says: 15

    @Gunner Christensen:

    Rock ‘n’ Roll (based on African-American musical tradition).

    From my generation, very little R&R had anything to do with Black tradition. Bill Haley, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, etc

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  18. Redteam says: 16

    @Bill Tetzeli: 8

    Anyone who’s grown and changed their views since college should be willing to give Michelle the same benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t think Michelle has changed. She went there racist and is racist to this day. She was not ‘required’ to go there, she should have accepted the school for what it was at the time and get all she could get out of the experience. That is like going to a football game and discovering that they are playing football and not baseball and then arguing that they don’t like you because you tried to get them to play baseball. If you go to a football game, expect football and don’t shout anti-football slogans. You might not fit in.

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