Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jackie Kennedy played by.....Michelle Obama?

As March 4th nears, political campaigns are looking everywhere they can to find motivation and favor for their candidates. One of the main debates is who will likely win Texas. Obama's supporters are said to have increased in the state of Texas over the past couple of weeks, slighting Clinton's chances of winning the party nomination. We'll see. It always makes me giggle when people refer to Texas as one big hegemonic settlement where sand dunes still blow, and everyone generally thinks in the same way. Texas is BIG, and increasingly diverse in population, religion, and world view. Let's remember that and not try to predict the frame of thought of one of the largest states in America.

Other than the Texas debate, the most recent thing that I saw on the news that surprised me was a comparison of Michelle Obama to Jackie Kennedy. I know how America loves the Kennedys, so the fact that Michelle Obama, a black woman from Chicago, was juxtaposed to the classic beauty for style and grace made me think, "Wow, is America really becoming color-blind?"

While I am aware that the precedent is highly and obviously unlikely, it really says something when journalists and political theorists don't go out of their way to find a black beauty of classic American culture to compare Michelle Obama to.

Consider this: Beyonce Knowles is constantly referred and compared to Diana Ross, even though her sex-appeal spans an audience more similar to Marilyn Monroe. Black writers are reviewed as "Hansberryesque", even when their literary styles resemble Faulkner, and even Shakespeare. Usually what happens, since the social norm is to have one black person that represents every other person in that field, is that when a beautiful black singer comes out then she is compared to Beyonce. When a black leader arises then he is said to be the next Jackson or Sharpton. They don't do it to the athletes as much, and seem to view academics like Cornel West and Eric J. Dickey in an individual light. This is one of the first times that I saw a black woman (or a black person) publicly and widely compared to someone white.

Is this because there were no other African-American first ladies before her, or does America really see Obama and his wife through a lens and ideology that we all thought was impossible? Will the next prospective African-American first lady only be compared to Michelle Obama? Or are we witnessing a chain being broken?

-Wayetu Moore

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is not a black woman alive now or in the forseeable future that could come close to a likeness of Jackie Kennedy. Even with the chemically treated straight hair, conservative clothing, and "white" english, there is NO black woman that could EVER reach that level of class and charisma. Just accept this and you'll be better off. Just the thought of the comparison makes me want to throw up. Who ever came up with this idea is either delusional or retarded. A black woman like Jackie!?...never going to happen! ...EVER!