Michelle Obama makes me proud to be a Black woman. She is graceful, beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, strong, passionate, opinionated, and a loving mother and wife. Judging by the tears streaming down many faces and the applauses, more than a few folks at the Democratic National Convention were equally moved. It has been said that Michelle had much to “prove” during her speech. Therein lies the source of my dismay. It is sad that she had to prove her family is an “All-American family.” That she and Barack, both U.S. citizens, are not foreign or un-American. That she had to present herself in such a way that Americans would be able to “relate” to her. That she needed to get people “used to her” and “comfortable” with the idea of seeing “her” as a first lady. That she had to show she came from hard working, determined parents just like everyone else. That she was anything other than an angry black woman. That she was anything other than a white-folks-hating daughter of handouts and affirmative action. That she and Barack eat, sleep, breathe, bleed, love and hurt just like everyone else.
Do we impose such requirements on White candidates and their families? Do we require that the McCains demonstrate their All-American values? And why is it assumed that Americans can better “relate” to the millionaire McCains – John having married up (rather than having worked for his wealth) and unable to remember how many homes he owns, and Cindy having been born into her wealth? Why must people stretch their imaginations to epic proportions and be cajoled into seeing Michelle Obama as a first lady? I don’t see such doubts hurled at the medication and recipe stealing, drug-addicted, can’t shake hands without getting a sprain, airhead-looking, Mrs. “I just want to make it known that I’ve always been proud to be an American” Cindy McCain. Why would it ever be hard for Americans to relate to the Obamas, both of whom came from humble beginnings and worked hard to achieve all that they have?
Be that as it may, Michelle Obama proved all of that and more. Stevie Wonder’s song, “Isn’t She Lovely” was the perfect end to a perfect speech. Michelle, you go girl!!!