January 12th, 2012
04:40 PM ET

Opinion: For Michelle Obama, what's wrong with strong?

Editor's note:  Farai Chideya is a journalist and the author of four nonfiction and fiction books, and she blogs at Farai.com. She is a spring 2012 fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

By Farai Chideya, Special to CNN

(CNN) -
How would you feel living in a museum?

It’s a thought that popped into my head the night I dined with a civic group at the White House, after which, to our delight and surprise, the president took us on a tour of the family’s private quarters. The first lady wasn’t present. She was strong-willed; criticized by the press for inserting herself in policy decisions. After I’d walked up the stairs and had a few historical curios pointed out to me, I realized that the rooms were grand, but the space was far less private than the single family homes many parents and children live in. As I imagined what it must be like to live there, my reaction was less “how cool,” more “how weird.”

Those were the Clinton years, not the Obama years. But now, a new book called "The Obamas" is resurfacing the themes of a family’s private life squeezed into a public space - and a strong woman taken to task for stepping out of her perceived role. The White House has reacted to the book by New York Times’ correspondent Jodi Kantor in a way that’s somewhere between meticulous fact-checking and obsession. First, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Kantor hadn’t spoken to the Obamas since 2009 and that the book wove the couple’s inner-life out of “the author’s own thoughts.” Then, the first lady herself gave a rare interview, speaking to her friend Gayle King at CBS.

The first lady acknowledged she hasn’t and won’t read the book, but said based on descriptions of the work it conveyed “....an image that people have tried to paint of me since Barack announced [his run for the presidency], that I’m some angry black woman.”




That specific stereotype is the third rail that Michelle Obama has had to leap over again and again, sometimes doing so as deftly as when she double-dutched on the South Lawn. Other times, there’s no mistaking the hostility pointed her way, as when she was booed at a NASCAR rally. Google the phrase “angry black woman” and you will get 1.28 million results - the top ones about Michelle Obama. The stereotype dates back to antebellum days, winding its way historically past Sapphire on "Amos 'n' Andy" and up to Tyler Perry in drag.

Michelle Obama has been scrutinized as a new vision of what a first lady should look like - often quite literally. (Witness last year’s controversy over Wisconsin's portly Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner criticizing the first lady for urging kids to exercise when she has, in his opinion, "a large posterior.")  But the issues the First Lady repeatedly faces racially are bigger than physical image. There was even the sense (described well in Kantor's book) that a black woman should not travel through Europe in designer clothes, although the means by which the Obamas gained their cultural and financial advantage was primarily through education; the sales of the president's book; and the hard legal work that Michelle Obama did to hold the family together during his early, peripatetic political career. The Obamas are, through dint of their hard work, living the American Dream. And while a white couple might be valorized for that, they seem to be penalized.

The perceived strength of the first lady has caused controversy during many administrations, as seen with the influence of Eleanor Roosevelt and even further back, Abigail Smith Adams, whose detractors called her “Mrs. President.” In her new book, Kantor asserts that Michelle Obama told an aide, “I don’t want to be Hillary Clinton.”  "The Obamas" also lavishes great detail on apparent tensions between the first lady’s team and the president’s, including a moment when former spokesperson Robert Gibbs, sparring with advisor Valerie Jarrett over a leak, unleashed a barrage of profanity and said of the first lady “Then f*** her too!” (That seems to be verified by an abashed Gibbs.) And the book notes that in a city where information is everything, the first lady has the ultimate backchannel.

“Following long presidential habit,” Kantor writes, President Obama “sometimes told her about top-secret matters: after the fact, when the information became public, she would sometimes admit to aides what she had known beforehand.”

Strong first ladies have had one set of challenges. The first African-American first lady of the United States faces another: the difference between being “strong” and being “angry.” It's not clear that Jodi Kantor sets out to make Michelle Obama seem angry as much as a Black Tiger Mother, intent on protecting cubs Malia and Sasha. (In fact, much of the book is devoted to how the Obamas work to parent their children with an eye to both their safety and growing autonomy, and how the fame of politics makes that difficult.) But is being angry always wrong?

In the television interview with Gayle King, the first lady says of the scrutiny of her household: “I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman ...” The last part of that statement really piqued my interest. Yes, “The Obamas” includes speculation and re-creation, perhaps even a tainted imagination of what the first family’s life is like. But I worry that in coming out so hard against the book, Michelle Obama is, unwittingly, telling us that her strength is imagined.

Strength is not anger, but anger can be a catalyst for feats of strength. When I think of an a truly angry black woman, I think of Fannie Lou Hamer. A sharecropper, she was sterilized against her will during an unrelated operation. Her “Mississippi appendectomy” was one of the injustices that led her to join the civil rights movement and send a freedom delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention. Was she angry? Hell, yeah. Was her cause just? Absolutely. She turned the stereotype of the angry black woman on its head.

Michelle Obama grew up in a working-class black family; saw her first roommate at Princeton move out because the student’s parents didn’t want their daughter sharing space with a black woman; became a lawyer; ran Public Allies Chicago; and of course, married the man who would be President and had two beautiful daughters with him. It’s worth reciting her history just to make it clear how strong she must be. If that fact makes some people angry... well, too bad for them. But if the first lady feels she has to hide her strength to survive Beltway politics, then, too bad for our culture, and too bad for us all.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Farai Chideya.

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • Gender • Politics • Race • Women
soundoff (449 Responses)
  1. Obama romney poll

    Struggling with substantial mortgage repayments and want a fix quick the actual obama loan mod plan is aimed at supplying alleviation close to several zillion homeowners-find out and about precisely how ...spilleautomat

    February 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Me or myself

    It is a question with regards to setting goals and how to achieve an objective. The truth from the issue is huge goals may be overwhelming, and it's really excessively all to easy to grow to be overwhelmed ...silver dimes value

    February 7, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. jon

    This debate has already been resolved. Michelle Obama got off on the wrong foot by her own words. When she said she was proud of America for the first time, she alienated 1/2 the population. It's been all down hill after that.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • AwesomeFirstLady

      The First Lady did not alienate half of the population because much more than half the population voted for her husband, the President. When I heard the remark, I thought the hairless thin lipped chimps would be on it like white on rice. Those people have never ever stopped hating on the First Lady. With said, I am confidant, evolution and the ever expanding hole in the ozone layer will take care of most of the problem.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David

    Mrs. Roosevelt perhaps typified the strongest of First Ladies in the countires entire history. And she took more heat for it than Mrs. Obama ever will.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. gsg

    It is a sad day when the President and First Lady are treated with such disrespect. Racism has never gone far away.

    January 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • geraldjones

      People are tired of being called racists if they don't support obama...by the way she is angry, she has said she was only proud to be American because we elected her husband, that is the ONLY time she was proud of her country.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Actually Factual

        Where are you from? Do you think if you were African American woman, Growing up in the sixies, That perhaps you might utter something along the same lines? I don't speak for her but I am sure she was amazed her fellow Americans who called her racial slurs growing up had seemingly made the progress to trangress race.
        Of course with a few minutes with talk radio you can see we haven't come as far as she thought.

        January 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joann

        in response to geraldjones:
        I am sick & tired of you people always saying: People are tired of being called racists if they don’t support obama. Racism was here long before President Obama. Say President Obama. I am tired of you dis-respecting our president. We are not saying vote for President Obama. We are saying be fair and be Godly. If you love God then do the right thing, not thee popuoar thing. This Racism has always been there as under cover and now its has reared it's big ugly head as straight out Racism. The fear of the gentiles are to keep the black man down because they are afraid of him and trying anything to keep him from achieving. Just like the Jews God will come and really free the Black Man. God will give the Black Man his just rewards like everyone else. Stop being a Bigot and a Racist. If you are not Racist, then I am wrong but if not stop anyway.

        January 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Erica

      You cannot tell me that the reaction at the Nascar rally was not driven by racism. No matter what your views, no matter what your feelings, you do not BOO the first lady for simply being there. It was rude, it was destructive. THAT was racism. She has never struck me as being an "angry black woman". She has struck me as being an opinionated woman, strong in her convictions and beliefs. I do not agree with all of them, but SHE makes me proud to be an American woman. *I am white, btw.* I find her to be fascinating, and a great role model.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. ghostclown

    This isn't news.

    January 15, 2012 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Journalism

      Do you know the difference between NEWS and COMMENTARY?

      January 16, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
      • JayR77

        Either way you slice it, it's a waste of time and space. I'm tired of all the "racist" claims when something truthful is said about the blacks. The blacks need to get over themselves and become human.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • AwesomeFirstLady

        I am still waiting for the day 2nd and 2rd generation European Americans to acknowledge any relation who was a member of the Klu Klux Klan or other white supremacist group. During the celebration of MLK's birthday today, I have seen pictures of angry white folks who I assume had children and grandchildren. Are you one of those people? Do you have enough courage to admit some of your past relatives were members of a white supremacist group?

        January 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lilly

    Because the Black culture is very distinct, I only see the idea of the 'Angry Black Woman' as a clumsy, but general stereotype, no different than the Aggressive Irishman, the Emotional Italian and the Inscrutable Chinese. It's normal human behavior and considering that Michelle Obama IS the First Lady I'd say that racism isn't really that big a part of the average American experience. There is always going to be some racism, but the trend is that it's continually declining.

    January 15, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Shawn

    Soledad is a race baiter. No different than Jesse and Al.

    January 14, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Phil P.

    Soledad, your'e right on by revealing the constant negative themes at the end of several chapters.Way to go. Keeping them honest in a way where people like her realize they cannot infer something without being caught. Hey Soledad, stay all over people like her like cheap perfume.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shawn

    Pride in being an American for the first time only after your husband gets elected as president is hardly strong. Just like 97% of African Americans voting for Obama is hardly strong. Gheez can you make it any more obvious that you as a collective group only voted for Obama because you share the same skin color. Hardly strong.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. i agree

    I agree. women are persecuted for being healthy and strong. patriarchy strikes again.

    January 14, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      Michelle is VERY strong.
      Odor isn't everything, however.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
      • Journalism

        These words come across as insipid and shallow as they appear on screen.

        January 16, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Patiat

    People better get used to seeing (and hearing) the first lady more. The Nancy Reagans and Laura Bushes are going to become fewer as more educated women with leadership skills of their own become the first lady. It only makes sense with more women in positions of influence in America than ever before, and it's pretty much a relic to assume that the first lady will just shut up, smile, and concentrate her efforts on a pet charity or social program. Eleanor Roosevelt took crap for getting involved, but history defends her, as it will Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Strong First Ladies are becoming the rule rather than the exception.

    January 14, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • NHWoman

      You are mistaken in using Nancy Reagan as an example of a first lady who didn't do much, especially when you say that she lacked an education. We don't elect the first lady, though, so the extent of their role is entirely up to them, and they should neither be criticized for taking an active role nor criticized for not taking one.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • John Brown

      People are not accusing her of being educated. I assume you are an African American woman. Here is the problem with African American women. Somehow they equate to being rude, uncivilized and loud to being strong.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NHWoman

    I have always admired the First Lady. She lives the American Dream-coming from lower class roots, going to college and law school, making something of herself (and her brother, too). She has nothing to be ashamed of.

    The booing was not a surprise-NASCAR fans are not crazy about having politicians at their events or about having their events used for political grandstanding. The mistake that she and Mrs. Biden made was in not knowing their audience.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • judahrenee

      Knowing her audience? Knowing their audience? She is the First Lady, I dunno... the wife of The President of The United States of America! She represents America well, this is her country and her right to go where ever without the disrespect of boo's. It just shows the world what we think of our own and really makes us look arrogant, moral less and estupido! She just ran into a group of folks that lack respect and perhaps forgot their home training..if they ever really had any.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • NHWoman

        Were you just trolling comments looking for something to be upset about?

        January 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Journalism

        I agree with you that she and Mrs. Biden should not have had to endure impolite treatment from that audience or any audience.

        January 16, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
      • Journalism

        NHWoman, No...it looks like that is what you are doing. Otherwise, you wouldn't be on here.

        January 16, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. DivinemissK

    Soledad Obrien's interview with Jodi Kantor was terrible. Please CNN put here somewhere else she's already had one shot at the morning news. If she stays much longer my channel will change in the AM.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Journalism

      One less viewer will be DIVINE.

      January 16, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Steven

    Im a white southern man and Im ashamned at the disrespect heaped apon the first family, Mr. President, your doing fine, keep it and you have my compliments towards your wife, a lovely, strong woman; Im a fan of History and you fit nicely with Mrs. Adams.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnotherNCnative

      Thanks for giving me hope Steven. I'm so glad that there are indeed people in our country who judge people based on the content of their character and not their skin color.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Doctor

      I believe the syndrome is often referred to as "white guilt," Steven.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  16. Emeka Iyabo

    The bad comment are coming most from people that are jealous of watching a black family in a position their generation can never smell in American history.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark idoko

      forget the angry white monkey. she can as well hit her head on the wall if she doesnt know what else to do. michelle is the first lady no more no less. who dash monkey banana.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  17. Carol Keltner

    Michele Obama is the classiest first lady we have ever had including Jackie Kennedy. She rocks and I despise anyone who talks smack about her. LOVE YOU MICHELE!!!!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Doctor

      Yeah, Jackie O. was a true delight when the cameras weren't running. She was a witch to her staff and family. I guess if my husband were screwing around as much as Jack did, I'd be a little miffed most of the time. Flawed men. Flawed women. Human beings. Good and bad. Jack made some very courageous decisions for this country while under great duress.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Charlene

        This is an awesome chgnaelle I love the creativity that can be brought from limitations! As a dyer, I found myself overwhelmed with the possibility of being to dye any color I wanted. It was only when I limited color choices that I began to hit my stride!

        September 14, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Alexandre

        Ahmed AbdAllah Posted on Dear sirI hope that i could toapply for yor pomargre; and to be one of your students.please there is no information about the application steps and the requsted decuoments and the ,ethod of application (how I will apply) and the e mail which I will send the application through it.I am waiting your reply THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND CONCERN

        September 16, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  18. adrian


    January 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Raven

    Maybe Michelle will run for President after her husband's 2nd term is up. It's good to have people to lead this country who care about the American people. "Michelle"...you have my vote.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  20. JOSE0311USMC


    January 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carmen

      In your opinion the First Lady is not important? It is just your opinion,Thank God! How sad for your wife and mother, they are not important. If you deemed the women in your life important you would see the importance of Michelle Obama in her role of our country's First Lady. Ignorance is NOT a blessing. I believe our country reached some height when President Obama was elected. Our voters showed that they elected the man for his worth not the color of his skin. I wrote in the name of my candidate, "Hilary Clinton" because I am loyal to the end.. President Obama and the First Lady have gain my trust and respect. I will be voting for the President's re-election. This is just my opinion and is your right to disagree with me.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Doctor Doctor

        Be careful what you wish for. Be careful who you vote for.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  21. Nehemiah53

    She is strong and a lady, but not that phony in your face go home alone and cry at night on the pillar so call strong lady. She has knowledge, understanding and wisdom [and that's what lacking in so many educated black professional women] know how to act and how to carry herself. I love her!

    January 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Mike

    I dislike people commenting on a book without reading it first. One should understand what they are talking about. The author not having spoken to the Obama's since 2009 is a pretty weak criticism of a biographer. Does Soledad O'Brien understand that people are still writing biographies of Lincoln? (Watch that piece of journalism!) There are so many loudmouths on news programs these days. Shouting down the person your supposed to interview doesn't win points with me. It's not that she's as bad as Bill O'Reilly, but we don't need more of this. She gave a horrible interview and surely also didn't read the book.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      Strong is fine as long as people remember that ODOR isn't everything.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • JOSE0311USMC


        January 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • AnotherNCnative

        Jose, Have you ever been close enough to smell her 'ODOR'? That was a really tacky remark.

        January 14, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • SmartMan

      Let me tell you something buddy , This is a hear say book nothing more and nothing else ! Most of this book may even be false hoods ! And to the guy who said that the first lady behind is big ! Real men love woman with meat on the bones not what American T.V. says what is beauty ! Who wants a woman who looks like a lolly pop ! Very large head and no body !! Nasty !! Looking !!

      January 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Joi Gibson

    If I had a daughter, I would hope she would emulate someone like the First Lady. Michelle Obama is one classy lady. When those people at NASCAR booed her and Dr. Biden, did you see how she put her arms tightly around the children-it was the children she was most concerned about. That says a lot about her character. She seems very warm. She always, always hugs people, especially children. Again, that says a lot about who she is. I am proud to have her representing this country, I am proud to have Barack Obama as president.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrick

      I think that there is nothing wrong with Michelle. She is trying to do her best. I am a republican and a conservative to say the least. I may not agree with the policies at hand but push that aside and I have to say that she is a strong woman. She is very important to me as a US veteran as well as OBAMA. Say what you want in regards to her and our President but I will never turn my back on our Commander and CHIEF or his family. Until he is voted out of office... I will not say anything degratory towards him as an individual and his family but his methods and policies I can't stand.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kriss greenn

        Derrick you hit it on the head. Now I'm on the fence when it comes to the poltical stuff Obama is doing, but that's beside the point. I love Michelle Obama. Everytime I see her on TV or the newspaper all I can do is smile cause I see me in her. I'm a young black woman fighting to make my own way, and seeing her and the journey that she has made just reminds me that there is hope for every black woman that wants something better in their life and in the lives of their families.

        January 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • devon

      Could not have said it better myself!

      January 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  24. D01

    Clearly, the First Lady is in campaign mode as well, as the PR crew finds a strength they want to emphasize about her, and then blast it out to the media that "all of these people" do not like this "strength" of hers. I have never heard her criticized for being strong...but instead for spending lots of money, going on expensive trips and being insensitive to the plight of many in the nation...not what the media wants to debate.

    Personally, I find it sad that Michelle's biggest concern is that people think she is strong. Instead of a focus on her needs, she might want to look outwardly to a nation that still suffers high unemployment and record numbers of folks on food stamps. They would be happy to trade "burdens" with the First Lady.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Did you even read the artical? They didnt even speek to Michelle. Make your own assumtions and then continue talking as if you are using facts! grow up and stop judging people you know nothing about! Your post portrays you as an ignorant coward!

      January 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • D01

        Mike–In addition to your poor spelling and name calling...
        The First Lady is quoted several times in the article. She is out on the interview circuit speaking primarily about this point and how people percieve her. Both of these points are facts. I infer that, the First Lady is coached by a PR firm, they are going to only have her debate points upon which she will be perceived as positive, and that means no discussing the dismal economy or the expensive shopping trips.

        January 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff G

      @D01,Neither the article, nor the book, nor the interview are about the "burdens" Michelle Obama supposedly feels she's faced with. And any criticism that those in the Drudge world (and others) may have leveled at her regarding shopping trips, or designer clothes, or whatever is ridiculous. Clearly the First Lady of the United States is going to live a lifestyle slightly different from the average citizen, and her lifestyle is certainly not outrageous for someone with the educational and professional background that she and her husband have attained. The problem with Michelle Obama buying nice things or traveling is that so many of her detractors are uncomfortable with "people of color getting too uppity." Michelle is no more or less out of touch than either of her two most recent predecessors, and is clearly much more in touch with everyday people than either Barbara Bush or Nancy Reagan ever were.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kriss greenn

        Aman Jeff!!!!!!And just liike you said; because she is educated and has the means to buy expensive stuff (even BEFORE she became the first lady) people want to down her for that. I'm far from rich but I have never had a used car, I have a nice house that i pay for, no kids, no state assistance and people want to think I'm uppity. Why, because i got an eduacation? Because i ate beans and rice for 5 years so I can better myself? People really need to wake up and stop blaming everything and everyone because they can't get what they want. SO WHAT!!! make it happen for yourself and move on.

        January 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • D01

        Jeff–I appreciate your points...My points were just that 1. I have never heard anyone say that there is anything wrong with Michelle being strong. I think that the interviews have highlighted this so that the media can say "she is strong" and turn it into something "newsworthy". 2. The trips and spending HAVE been the points of criticism, fair or unfair, and they have been left unaddressed. Interestingly, the your response and Kriss' say, she worked hard, earned and deserves it...I agree 100%...however, the Administration has attacked those that work hard and are able to spend more and have tended to frown upon such actions as those of the hated "1%". When your actions say, "think I'll have Johnny Depp over for a Halloween party" or "I think I will take 20 friends over to Spain on a shopping spree", but your words say "the 1% should not have all of this additional money and all of these toys" whether they worked hard, studied hard, and gave up things for decades or not...I think this leads to a more interesting debate. No?

        January 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.t.

      i think the first lady has earned the right to wear whatever clothes she can afford. No other DC politician is shy about their lavish lifestyles , like 200 dollar haircuts and 2000 dollar suits. Suits they probably could not afford before being congressmen. She earned her money and her lifestyle , BEFORE she was first lady. I guess its not just the left wing socialists who are jealous of other people's wealth.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Doctor

      They are politicians, and therefore, like any other politician - black or white, man or woman, liberal or conservative or moderate - opportunists who care nothing at all but to serve the lobbyists of special interest.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  25. Timbuck2

    Strong Black women are labeled "Angry" whenever we say what someone doesn't want to hear! However, we will stand toe-to-toe with whomever we need to, when a situation calls for it and some of those people don't like that and then the name calling begins. We tend to get a bum rap because of being confident enough to speak our minds. I have experienced some white females saying to me, "I would never be able say that!" I am a strong black woman, I work, pay taxes and speak my mind when needed; and based upon this type dialogue, I must be angry or a woman that certain people cannot control. Well, so be it!

    January 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Never change! The closet racists are scared of you. They are nice to your face but dont want you to date their son. they know that what you said is correct but they must look at you an equal in order to not be fearful or judgemental! I am a white man that sees racism every day, most of it is an ignorance of the world and lack of self knowledge.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kriss greenn

      Timbuck and Mike: YES!!!!!! I'm with yall 100%.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Mike

    WOW! The racism in this country is still alive and well, as many of the igornant posters on this site have shown. The Obama's have shown us all how to handle racism and double standards placed on them because of the color of their skin with alot of class! After the 2012 election I hope the Obama's take the gloves off and let it rip when necessary. To all of the racist posters you should walk out side and make the same remarks on the street, if not your a coward and should shut up!

    January 13, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  27. kurt

    Anyone who goes into politics, and at that same time, is not "proud" of her country, is surely angry about something. She showed us who she was during the election until the handlers grabbed her mic and threw teleprompters in front of her husband. Her words showed us her anger. Her skin showed us she's black. That does not equate to racism. It equates to holding a woman who happens to be black accountable for her own action and words. All of this says nothing of her disgusting hypocrisy of course, but nobody's perfect....

    January 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I am a white man and I believe that black women have a reason to be angree! You sit in your glass house looking through rose colored glasses with no ablity to veiw anything form someone elses prospective. You make assumptions to make yourself feel justified in making racist factless comments. Your are a coward!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Timbuck2

      Kurt, that statement was taken out of context by folk who are not open minded enough to try and view things from someone else's vantage point, i.e. black people. From a black person's perspective, that meant she was proud because she believed that her country had gotten past the shackles of racism and was able to look past the color of her husband's complexion and vote for him based on his credentials. But it appears that some you are not capable of doing that or don't want to; so everything Mrs. Obama says is under scrutiny in the worst way. That is unfortunate, because it appeared to me she was trying to give her country a compliment! Further, some black people try and see certain things from a white perspective, for instance, we realize that most of you have never had your civil rights violated because of your complexion, so it is hard for you to understand that your actions and behaviors can be interpreted as racism. Open up your mind sometimes and wonder if could really be different than it appears...you will be surprised what you come up with...

      January 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ctb67

      Kurt, I beg to differ. I think it would be hard for any republican to say they are happy or proud of this country how it is. Just look at the disrespect shown our commander and chief. How is that any different than what Michelle said? Isn't that free speech, the First amendment? I think you should read Derrick's post. He is the only republican I can respect. You seem like the other kind, sorry.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  28. idb

    Yeah, she has a hard life. Shopping sprees all over the world, living the life and so on. The hard part is that her husband is a failed president. That must be difficult to live with.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Ignorant gibberish comming from an uninformed Tea Party Racist. You should go to the mall with a sign stating your opions, but you will stay home a post online because your a coward!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • BinFL

      I suppose you would want to trade with her right? Could you stand with grace under all the verbal attacks, insinuations, living under a microscope, never having alone time, worrying about your children who require bodyguards, and also taking the pressure off her husband, the Leader of the Free World!! There are not many people on this earth that could take this way of life, even if for only 4 years. I applaud her!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Doctor

      IDB, it's not a hard part at all. She thinks her husband's the greatest thing since Jesus Christ. And that makes complete sense since she helped create the cult of personality to move their progressive agenda into Washington-overdrive. In their eyes, they are huge successes...and their own biggest fans.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  29. catwill

    The author writes a book about the first lady based on inside information from snitches and disloyal staff and I find this type of jouurnalism. tabloid. I am happy that Ms Obama answered this criticism of her and as a black professional women I would have done the same thing. I support you and your husband Michele and you are a beautiful woman.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • AwesomeFirstLady

      I agree. Spread the word – BOYCOTT KANTOR'S TRASH BOOK!!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  30. geraldjones


    January 13, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Comment from a racist little teatard!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  31. PeterD

    According to AP/CNN Recent Polls Mochelle Obama is going down in American History Book as One the Most Ugly Looking Frist Lady Ever.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • geraldjones

      She hates being the first lady, well let's make her wish come true...kick the ODUCHA's out of office.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
      • boyamidumb

        Racism lives strong in America.

        This woman is the best we have seen in the "white" house in a long time, and there have been a lot of good women there (in spite of who they married). She is smart. She is dignified. She is concerned. Of couse she IS ambitious, but we all have our faults. I am proud to see her representing the country.

        What I would really like to see, is for her to debate Bachman and Palin. She would leave them crying in the corner and show them for the embarrassing fools they are.

        Signed: An Old White Man

        January 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Joann

        geraldjones you don't know that. You are going my heresay.

        January 13, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
      • AJ

        Why just winning a debate with Bachmann and Palin? Uh, hello, she could win a debate against any of the republican candidates and likely most of the democrats. Why can she only compete with other women?

        January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
      • Lenychidy

        The police rpetros will be included as usual in the near future. Because this is a new site, the archived news and police rpetros were not immediately available. That information will be added soon.

        September 14, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Wow, so you think Barbara Bush was good looking? You think Nancy Regan was good looking? Because looks matter so much...you're pathetic.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Joann

      PeterD, if that happens you will also go down as the most stupid or should I say dummest person in the world. This is amother sign of racism in America.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • catwill

      There isnothing like another person writing a book about something that they heard that went on in the persons head.for this is the worse kind of parasite who feeds off others. PeteD probably is a person who feels that the Obamas has someway taken something from him or his and can't stand a strong educated black women who is powerful too. Unbelievable!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Timbuck2

      That can't be true! Because I know you know better than that! Unless you were blind until now!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Just like Fox News your making up BS and then using it to make your racist remarks sound justified! Your are a coward that should be branded as such!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      That's not true at all and it is also wrong to use the scale of appearance to judge her.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    When you look at the three "Strongest" First Ladies since 1900, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obaba, every one of them has been pilloried in the conservative media for not only having opinions, but using their position as First Lady to promote what they believed it. Civil Rights, Health Care, Education, etc. They were practically hung in effigy whenever they made a public appearance.
    What everyone forgets about, though, was Woodrow Wilson's wife – who effectively ran the Executive Branch behind the scenes while her husband was recovering from his stroke. Because she did this effectively out of the public eye, she was not branded with the same tag as the other three I mentioned.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No offense, but I'd like a historian to weigh in on this.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  33. PoorMichelle_Time_for_a_Vacation

    The second lady is JUST that. Strong, Weak, Smart, Dumb, she is NOT an elected official. I guess packing for all those taxpayer vacations has gotten on her nerves.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Hey M O R O N...you might not know this, but the Obama's pay 100% for their vacations – JUST as Bush did for his. Secret Service and Airforce 1 come with the job. I hope you were JUST as upset when Bush took off some 800+ days of vacation from his job.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Joann

      Response to PoorMichelle_Time_for_a_Vacation.
      We can tell you are scared to tell your real name. Only a coward makes a remark like this.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Racist, cowardly, and ignorant remark form a teatard!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  34. BLKmanNAmerica

    WELL..................................the good news is no one judgement will send me to heaven or hell.........so given this I should not really give a rats puttie @ a "sterotype" of me, nor do I. Mrs. Obama is such a beautyful woman BECAUSE she is strong and I believe has a good heart and she happens to LOVE her family.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality50

      Couldn't have said it better. She is beautiful because she is strong. I feel the Obama's have earned their place in history, and deserve respect and admiration. From a white woman down south...

      January 13, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
      • Bob


        January 13, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Well said!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  35. abmarconi

    Mrs. Obama is a great role model and a great yexample of what most modern women aspire to be. She's not a meek, or mild soft spoken first lady like tothers have been but she also doesn't come off as cold or part of her husband's cabinet. She's clearly a partner with her husband and has her own ltasks to handle. She's stylish (but not to the point where she's unrelateable) and yes she's strong. She's physically strong (I know my arms won't look that good when I'm her age) and strong in every other sense. For years though- both inside and outside the whitehouse a strong woman was usually one of two things... a angry woman (usually subsituted by a variety of four letter words) or a lesbian. So- while some may have a hard time adjusting to having a strong modern woman in the white house I applaud the first lady and hope she doesn't change at all.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      A bigbutt telling people to slim down is a HYPOCRITE.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
      • BLKmanNAmerica

        WELL the fact is American's do need to slim down. Your not a fake communicating that message, because you fail to realize she is attempt to do what she's suggesting to you IDIOT.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Joann

        You are disgusting & disrespectful calling the First Lady;s butt big. It is not. From your response I can tell you are prejudice. She is a healthly woman. Just because we are not tiny and boney like most white women, you accuse of being big or fat. Which is not true. The First Lady is tall, toned woman. Our heritage determines are posterior end (butt). Which a lot of white men and other groups admire and like. What do you look like? Care to show us your picture? I look great.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
      • BinFL

        You're an idiot – Mrs. Obama is in great shape. She is a very tall woman and what some us call "big boned" but she is not overweight. I applaud her tenacity, strength, and commitment towards making this a healthier nation. People like you are only haters and need to get a grip.

        January 13, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
      • The Real Tom Paine

        Really? Have you gone and measured her hips to verify this, or is this just another expression of resentment of Michelle Obama because she runs rings around you and virtually everyone else? By your name I'm assuming you're Hispanic, so can I ask you for your papers?

        January 13, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
      • AnotherNCnative

        Jose, Have you considered that heredity may be a factor in the size of her behind? We aren't given a choice in where fat is distributed in our bodies. Have you noticed the curvature of her spine? Her butt really isn't that big, it's her skeletal structure.

        January 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jules

    We are so lucky to have such an amazing First Family. And what's wrong with having a strong First Lady? Absolutely nothing! What's wrong with a wife wanting to watch out for her husband? Absolutely nothing! What's wrong with getting into disagreements with others once in awhile? Absolutely nothing! Way to go, Michielle, you are an awesome woman!!

    January 13, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  37. Pilar

    Is this a joke?

    What do you mean by "Strong First Lady?" Are you really referring to Michelle Obama as a First Lady? What kind of tough situation has put her to the test during her time in the WH?

    I don't know that "angry black woman" is the appropriate way to call her either, but strong? I don't think so. She's shown a lot of weak moments. OK?

    Now, Jackeline Kennedy was a strong woman, No need to say all the tough moments she had to go through. I don't recall you mentioning her in your superficial article.

    Thank you.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      So based on your rationale, Mrs. Obama won't be a "strong" first lady until the president somehow faces dire consequences? How was Jackie Kennedy strong? Even Laura Bush was a strong first lady, and that's coming from a liberal.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jules

      According to the tapes of the Jackie Kennedy interview that were released, she tok the president's opinion as her own. That is not a strong independent woman. But, perhaps she was a product of her times and Michelle Obama is a product of current times.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Joann

      Ii can tell you are not well inform and speaking from emotions that you truly don't understand. The First Lady is a strong woman. Jackie Kennedy was very weak. She put up with her husbands infidelities and didn't put her foot down. Miohelle Obama will not take that from her husband. She's been through at lot with this bigot and racial country. She worked her way up and helped her husband get established like any other loving & devote wife. Slurs against her husband, family and people like you.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • nyrebel

      I completely disagree. Michelle Obama is definitely a strong woman. I can't even imagine at college age being confronted with such racism. I hope that family remembers what they did and feels embarrassed. I'm white and I'm embarrassed that they behaved in that way. We may not know the minute details of her life, but I have a feeling her life at an earlier age was much more difficult than Jackie Kennedy's life. Jackie's life did become more difficult. I would say they both turned into strong, remarkable women, just very different.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  38. Claudia Neibaur

    I just watched the interview of a woman who wrote a book about Michelle Obama. Solidad Obrian was so out of line, she is an agressive reporter, but the talking over each other, and Obrian would not let the woman finish her thoughts. Very bad reporting, on Obrians part! I usually don't watch Obrian's progams, because of this. I know the minorities are really strugeling, I lived in La. when discrimination was rampant, but she irritates me, and I would rather not watch her. She is a very good reporter. She needs to tone it down. Thanks.....

    January 13, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • nyrebel

      I listened to NPR's interview of Jodi Kantor which assisted me to view the book from the perspective it was written in. Is it accurate? Probably, but I'm sure she was not privy to all the interactions that came before her written observations. You do realize The Obamas did not have anything to do with the writing of this book. It's based on her interviews of others – so you only get their and her perspectives.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      Claudia – I couldn't agree more. Soledad Obrien's attempt to rip author Jodi Kantor a-new-one clearly backfired, Obrien
      looked flustered and foolish while Kantor maintained her poise. The same could be said about Piers Morgan's interview with Kantor, Kantor presented herself as more credible. Way to go Obrien, you and Morgan just gave the sale of "The Obamas" a nice shot-in-the-arm.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  39. jon

    Ms Obama got started off on the wrong foot with us when she announced back in 2008 that she was "proud of America for the first time" that is exactly what got her the "angry black woman" label. Since that time there have been similar statements. The other thing is the fact she travels at great expense separtely to all those vacations instead of waiting for her husband and saving the tax payers money

    January 13, 2012 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles Barbour

      And the similar statements are?
      I thought so!

      January 13, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • BinFL

      Well, some people like you can't handle the truth. First of all, you took her words out of context and why she said what she did. She was referring to the fact that our country has finally gotten to a point where racism is no longer as a divisive factor as it was before. However, since President Obama got elected, the opposers won't let that civility and acceptance become the norm – disgusting when you think about it. Anyway, the First Lady was right on with her comment.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Joann

      Jon you don't know what you're talking about. The other president's wifes took all kinds of vacations. Was that reported or is it because Michaell Obama is black. Everytime a black per does something it's wrong but not for whites? She does not go on that many vacations and she does save money. She is not shopping buying expensive clothing like Jackie Kennedy, Laura Bush & Nancy Regan. She buys clothes that normal American women can afford to buy. You need to tell those Republicans to bring the jobs back to American and sign the bill to create more jobs and stop rich people like Mitt Romney who are milking our middle class and leaving the poor and homeless without hope.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  40. TampaMel

    What do people want, is a First Lady supposed to sit hope and knit? She is smart and she has opinions and she expresses them. If you look in the mirror (or read all the comments here and else where, the various blogs, etc) you will find other people doing the same thing (and from people, like myself, that are not that smart). Another news media create story.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  41. bell hooks

    She is fabulous and so is he. Is it all about color? Is there a different lens through which they are viewed because of their color? Only you yourself can answer....

    January 13, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      No. It's because they both say and do stupid stuff.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Dan5404

    The whole much-to-do-about-nothing story is just exaggerated bits of second-hand information to sell books.It seems every book nowadays must have at least one controversial entry to avoid being just another prim and proper article on how the first family lives that might appear in Oprah's magazine. I would think such an author would have waited until she could talk with at least one of the subjects of the book first. I'm sure the racists among the GOP will scanevery word to try tp start an anti-Obama campaign over nothing.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Smith

      That should be 'much ado about nothing, ' not 'much to do about nothing.'

      January 13, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  43. jiangw

    Nothing, but we didn't elect Michelle, we elected Barrack. She can be a good role model, but let the president handle the politics.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis (formerly from Georgia)

      First Ladies have always had an initiative in the White House...what is your point?

      January 13, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Nawab

      By :RE: But from looking at the graph it looks like SEA is rercveoing Nope. You are not in recovery when things are getting worse. A slower decline rate is still declining and this is no recovery. If you are sick and are getting sicker you are not in recovery even if you were getting sicker faster yesterday. Recovery, temporary or permanent starts when you stop getting sicker at least in the world prior to the financial meltdown, now everything is being spun to fool the common man to part from his money to help support a bankers new yacht.slowing the rate of decline in home prices is a good thing. there is no doubt about it. just like on the way up the slowing rate of increasing home prices was a bad sign.remember when house prices were going to settle to a more normal single-digit rate?

      November 17, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  44. Janet

    I don't get what the issue is with the term "strong woman'. Like, do we really want "weak" women to be the mothers of our children? The mere fact that this riles up so much emotion suggests that gender and race are still a big issue in our society. White guys, your glory days are over. Do yourself a favor. Accept it and go on.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Max Powers

    The question is, if people keep calling her names, will she become an angry black woman? I would...if I were black and a woman. I get angry just reading the stupid bigoted thing people say here. And I'm a bald white guy. Not to be confused with the angry bald white guys with the lil pinwheels tattooed on them.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Central Park West

    The GOP has spent all of three years trying to show Michelle Obama as gun wheeling, no good that hates the world and Fox News spends all their photographic energy to capture the First Lady in unflattering ways and when the cannot succeed they create cartoons and paintings and distort photos to make her look unnatural. It is down right demeaning and sad. Where does all this hate and spitefulness come from?

    January 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BinFL

      Where does the hate come from ...that's easy – the Democrats made history with the first African American president (even though he's actually half white)!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Justin

        I just saw The Big Lebowski this weekend for the first time. It is an autlobsely hilarious movie and kinda reminded me of those crazy underground comedy movies from the 60 s and 70 s where it was anything goes and a free-form style that seems lost in today's features. I liked the dream sequences and imagery connecting the bowling. The quirky dialogue was terrific and it was John Goodman's best role to date. Like with most Coen Brother's movies I felt the wrap-up left a little to be desired. Their endings always seem pretty week. I'm surprised you liked the movie Helen, usually you don't seem to go for that wacky far-out stuff, but maybe I'm wrong. I also really like Double Indemnity'. It has been awhile since I've seen it, so I will be sure to watch with you guys in April.

        November 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • katie

      Central Park West. Obivously it is taught in the schools run by Democrats. They're the first to start all this hate, just to get elected.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • AwesomeFirstLady

        I always wondered what happened to all the grandchildren of southern segregationists and KKK members.

        January 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  47. sarah

    Mrs Obama is a tall,stunningly beautiful woman with a gorgeous smile,and gorgeous skin.
    She is educated,wise,strong,powerful,successful,a fantastic mother and wife.
    The author of the book is an angry white woman who believes that in order to give an accurate portrayal of another person you should speak to their,maid,doorman,security personnel,telephone operator etc etc.
    I would hope that some reporter would make a trip to where she works an give us some details about her via the doorman,elevator guy,janitor etc etc.
    Shame on this pathetic excuse of a woman !!!!!!!

    January 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      The author spoke with the presidential aides and the Obamas themselves. She did not call Michele Obama an angry black woman, Michele used those words herself without having even read the book. You're attack on the author is ugly and without merit.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Syble

    My Parents always said, " AN EMPTY WAGON, MAKES A LOT OF NOISE." I don't think I have ever seen more empty wagons and hearts of hate than I have seen within this site. Lord, help us all to turn our hearts and minds toward Truth and Justice for this United States of America and the World...


    January 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Jilli

    I prefer to see a strong, educated and active first lady like Michele Obama. She's a great role model. Soooooo much better than mousey women like laura bush. good lord the woman always seemed like she was self-medicating. Although being married to GW, drugs were probably a requirement.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      An educated role model would read a book before talking about it. If I was giving a TV interview about a book, I think I would read it!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • AwesomeFirstLady

        An educated journalist would have interviewed the subjects of her book. The author works for the New York Times. They must have a couple of African American journalists. If so, I'm sure at least one of them took her aside and said something like – NOT A GOOD IDEA. THE OPTICS ARE ALL WRONG.

        January 14, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
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