Yesterday Ross Douthat of The Atlantic Monthly had a debate on the New York Times‘ website about how he doesn’t quite like Michelle Obama’s anger and wonders if she’s entitled to it:
There’s something about Michelle Obama’s anger that rubs me the wrong way… It’s not like she doesn’t have the right to be angry on behalf of the people still living in poverty, blacks on the South Side of Chicago … It’s when she gives the impression that she is angry on behalf of her self. There is something that rubs me the wrong way, I guess.
First, I am upset, because this critique of her is not an isolated incident-other members of the press are having a field day in making her the angry black woman. I just want to know what about Michelle’s anger screams entitlement? He must be thinking about Hillary. Who in the hell is allowed to take things personally then, only the worse off? Well Native Americans it is your time to shine.
Anger is not a privilege, it is a right. Now having Starz, HBO and Showtime as part of your cable package, that is a privilege.
What really bugs me about his statements is that they are based on the notion that black people who have achieved the American Dream—thanks to affirmative action of course—can’t personally be upset about what is going on with people in their own racial community nor can they understand the plight of others.
If you are black, you know oppression point blank. It may not be the same exact thing that Erica who lives in Brownsville, Brooklyn experiences, but I am pretty sure that Michelle came face to face with some real nonsense at Princeton. Class doesn’t trump race, never has, never will. What you do to Erica is what you do to Michelle. Also, experiencing discrimination doesn’t stop because your husband is about to be the first black president. Oppresion, no matter how subtle or in your face, plays a DAILY role in the lives of all black folks.
Douthat, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that is called RACIAL SOLIDARITY. I know that white people are hip to the game of how black middle class speak badly about poor blacks—Chris Rock’s whole niggas versus black people. But do not get it twisted; we are one when it comes to injustice. We take it real personal like family. You hurt my mother, we are going to have some serious words.
I didn’t sit at home during Hurricane Katrina and say “Sucks for them po’ folks.” I got pissed. I don’t have to live in the South Bronx to be irate that the asthma rates are triple that of predominately white suburbs because of illegal dumping of toxic waste.
You should be able to have an Ivy League law degree, rock St. John’s suits, sport a Gidget flip and still be an activist without being looked at sideways.
It amazes me how people continue to label her as being unpatriotic. Why? Because she refuses to be coked up smile like McCain’s wife muttering how great it is live in this hellhole. Please, no one truly loves this country, unless you are the part of the 2 percent that owns everything.
How can you a love a nation that lets people with AIDS die while they wait on a list to receive life-saving medicines that cost nothing to make? How can you love a nation that allows for millions of people to be uninsured and have to rely on the ER for their main source of medical treatment? How can you love a nation that allowed for Full House to be on for a damn decade and cancelled My So-Called Life after 12 measly episodes? Patriotism is a farce.
If you ask me, anger is the best thing in the world. The greatest accomplishments that ever happened—the end of separate but equal, Roe vs. Wade, the right to vote for all people, etc.—came from anger. People who reached that breaking point and said, “Oh hell to the naw!”
We could all benefit from being more pissed off if you ask me.