First Lady Michelle Obama, the self-proclaimed mother of America, recently took another opportunity to bash the America that pays her husband’s salary and to cause division. Instead of “united we stand, divided we fall,” Obama promoted just the opposite message.
Apparently, instead of uniting people in America by pointing out what they share in common and how America is a “land of opportunity” in which anyone can succeed, her husband President Barack Obama proved that since he holds the highest position in the land, the First Lady instead, took the opportunity to cause division within the country along racial lines.
After being invited to speak at the opening of a new $420 million Whitney Museum in New York City, my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, Obama spoke of a “feeling of not belonging” in museums when she was growing up in Chicago.
“You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood.
In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum,” Obama said.
Did Obama invite them to come with her to the museum’s opening?
“And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself. So I know that feeling of not belonging in a place like this. And today, as First Lady, I know how that feeling limits the horizons of far too many of our young people,” she continued.
Perhaps since Obama’s children attend an exclusive private school, she is unaware of public school programs that enable “all” children to attend events that many would otherwise not be able to attend.
Some families are financially unable to send their children to such programs while many families have parents who need to work in order to provide for them and can’t take time off from work to take their children. The school programs offer an alternative to provide an opportunity that may otherwise not be readily available.
These public school programs allow children to partake in trips that provide cultural experiences such as trips to museums, historical landmarks, concerts, zoos, and many other activities. The children, for the most part, appear to enjoy themselves without the feelings that Obama described she had during her childhood.
There are many more families, however, unlike the Obamas, who can’t afford to send their children to private schools. How many of these children feel deprived because they must attend a public school?
In addition, there are far fewer families who can afford to take time off from work to globe trot around the world with their children to exotic places on the public’s dime.
To be fair, the Obama’s do pay for some vacation expenses out of their own pockets. However, Obama has traveled with her daughters to China, Europe, Africa and other international destinations since her husband first took office.
I am not aware of many families who can afford to vacation with their children in such culturally rich locations. On the other hand, I have also not heard children from families who couldn’t afford the luxurious trips, complaining that “they didn’t belong” or “didn’t feel welcome” because they couldn’t afford the same indulgences available to the Obama children.
There will always be minority children and there will always be opportunities and feelings that others don’t get to experience. This is true for everyone.
I came from an underprivileged background myself, having grown up in the South with hardworking parents who struggled to put food on our table and clothes on our backs at times. While I am primarily Caucasian, I am also part Native American. Growing up, there was a stigma to being poor and white.
However, I recognized as a child that I could choose to accept that label or I could choose to move beyond it. I chose to move beyond it, as Obama has done, and went on to practice law as an attorney, became a psychotherapist and continue to partake in other endeavors.
What I also understood growing up was that I was given opportunities to explore various cultural events through my family, school, church and other public and private organizations. I knew that I could either take advantage of those opportunities or not. Another child may have felt differently given the same or similar circumstances.
The one thing I do know is that if I had heard Obama’s speech as a child it would have discouraged me. I may have listened to her “voice of discouragement” instead of believing in myself and those around me who loved me.
Will there be racial issues, gender issues or other issues which will cause trials and tribulations in a child’s life? Yes, but it is how one chooses to deal with those issues that really matter.
If Obama wants to encourage children by using her husband and herself as examples of what they can achieve, then I’m all for it. But leave out the “you won’t belong because you are a minority” speech. Not every child who is a minority feels that way or even experiences those feelings.
Obama, as a minority herself, is living proof that even if you feel you don’t belong, you can overcome it and be all that you were meant to be. Not everyone may achieve success but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
In my opinion, that’s the positive message Obama should have given, not a racially divisive message of despair.
Who Pays For First Lady’s Fabulous Fashions?
Michelle Obama’s fashionable clothing has become something of a given in her five-plus years as first lady. Yet her wardrobe still is the subject of endless public fascination and one long-simmering question: Who pays for those incredible outfits? It’s no small matter. Her high-low fashion choices mix everyday, off-the-rack fare with custom creations from top designers whose gowns can run into five figures. In recent weeks, Mrs. Obama has turned heads with a forest-green Naeem Khan dress at the opening of a new costume gallery at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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