Becoming

A few days ago, I started listening to the Audible version of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, which she narrates, and it’s even more amazing and down-to-earth than I ever could have imagined. For someone who is so accomplished from a working-class background in the South Side of Chicago, it is so hard to imagine the people who choose to criticize and hate her. The story of her childhood certainly is a working class one, no matter what anyone wants to twist and ask, “how can she be ‘working class’ if she went to Harvard and Princeton and is now a multi-millionaire”? Not everyone who is wealthy and successful today came from wealth the way President Dipshit did. If anyone bothered really listening or reading her story, they’d know for a fact that she had no privileged upbringing at all, unless you want to define “privilege” as living in an in-law of an apartment in a working-class neighborhood and having one parent working a city-job. ¬†She barely left her city, much less her state, until she got to high school and had an opportunity to go to Paris for a school trip, and even that, she wanted to deprive herself of that because of the guilt around how much her parents would need to spend on this trip just for her to do what the other kids in her class did. That sounds like what I’ve done with my parents a few times… except in her case, her parents wanted her to go and paid for her to go. In my case, I didn’t go.

I’ve really come to the conclusion that people who choose to hate Michelle Obama do it simply because they a) hate women, b) hate black people, or really, any people of color, c) hate it when people from relatively humble backgrounds are able to rise through the ranks and become successful and wealthy, or even d) don’t want children (who are poor or of color) to be literate and educated, or want to prevent them from eating nutritious foods. There is little to nothing to dislike her for.

The portraits that the right-wing media paint of her being elitist or angry are rooted in racism and bigotry, designed to paint her as “other” simply because she is a black woman who has strived to achieve the same things that white men and women have always wanted, but because she is black, she is apparently undeserving of her success compared to them (Ted Cruz was Harvard educated, but why does no one ever accuse him of being “elitist”? Oh, it’s because he’s white and male. He just deserves that. Plus, Republicans swim in elitism but just leave out their education from their oppressive political rhetoric. Going to Harvard for Ted Cruz is not elitist — it makes him more qualified. Going to Harvard for Michelle Obama is elitist because she didn’t really deserve it). As a black woman, she has never had the same “status” in society as a white woman would, so it so unfair to accuse her of being “angry” or “entitled.” Why is she angry — because she isn’t shy about discussing and confronting racism and sexism, things that obviously still persist that so many people refuse to acknowledge or do anything about, which is why Trump is so popular and is now the leader of the U.S.? If that’s how you want to define angry, then anyone sane who wants progress for society should be called angry, including me.

Reading this book is really hard in many ways knowing who has succeeded Barack and Michelle in the White House. “Was America really ready for a black president?” Michelle asked in her book. It seemed they were for eight years, but after that, America grew angry and said, fuck this, we’re going to elect a racist, I’ve-inherited-my-wealth-but-refuse-to-admit-it to the White House to prove to the U.S. that we’re just as racist as we always were, but now, we’ll make it more acceptable with the example Dipshit is setting.

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