3 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2016
    1. That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.

      Many writers and thinkers have speculated about how the first black family has dealt with the what historian Carol Anderson calls the inevitable "white rage" backlash to Obama's election. Having served her time, Michelle seems more willing to take the criticisms head-on. This is what many of us would call "shade".

    2. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.

      This line does some work. On one level, it is red meat for colorblind white (and some non-white) liberals who require all black figures to be hopeful (I've discussed this more here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/between-the-world-and-me-book-club-not-trying-to-get-into-heaven/400271/).

      On another level, it is doing some inter-group communication or what Stuart Hall called encoding/decoding and what Mark Anthony Neal translates into "black code" when he talks about Hall's work through modern media cultures. Obama is signaling here that she has noted those who have directed racist, sexist, classist rhetoric at her family. She has taken note.

    3. So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!

      This is a dig at Donald's nihilism the other night. But it is also saying, hey, there is no great american past. Remember, Obama had just referenced slavery a paragraph earlier. She's making an elegant case that any allusion to the past is necessarily one that is closer to slavery. We are great now, she says, because we are at least greater than that. It is the idea that for black Americans, this country's best days are always necessarily yet to come. It's a stark contrast to the idea that America was only great when, as historian Ira Katznelson said, "affirmative action was white".