The wee-Michelle’s Have Spoken and Now Will Never, Ever Speak Again (AKA “Why People Suck”)

I was living under a rock most of yesterday so I was caught off-guard when I stumbled upon a CNN story that some people (and by “some” I only mean a blogger named Sandra Rose), thought Barack and Michelle Obama’s ten-year-old daughter Malia sounded “too grown.”

This confused me because in “black person land” I always interpreted “too grown” to mean you had a gum smacking, hand-on-hips, slang n’ profanities spewing, BET-watching, munchichi popping nightmare of a child. I did not interpret it to mean someone who knows their subject-verb agreements and effuses with excitement over the prospects of White House room decoration and puppy ownership.

Then as I read Sandra’s comments it seemed to be more about the fact that Malia spoke so well and appeared to “criticize” her father when she explained the type of advice she gave him for greeting kids. Then it evolved into a slam on the Obamas’ parenting.

It’s obvious that these kids spend all of their time around adults. But it’s important for children to interact with other kids their age to enhance their social skills.

We’ve all seen what happened to Michael Jackson.

I watched the video of 10-year-old Malia Obama speaking to a reporter and I swore I was listening to a 19-year-old speak! One of my loyal readers wrote, “This little girl is the most well articulated 10 year old I’ve seen in a long time,” — proving that Malia is too mature for her age.

While I wasn’t aware that Barack and Michelle were forcing the girls to tour the chitlin’ circuit singing James Brown and Jackie Wilson songs, it soon dawned on me that some folks like Rose were still operating from the fearful “seen, not heard” rule on children. That some people (particularly insecure people) find children who already speak and behave better than most college co-eds intimidating. I imagine they must recoil in horror during every Dakota Fanning interview.

These sort of children aren’t scary for teachers, who love them, or their parents, who adore them, or old people, who find them endearing, or TV news reporters, who are used to having terrible, terrible interviews with kids because most can’t articulate their thoughts. They aren’t scary to anyone except those who think any child who has half brain is an indictment on the fact that they are an adult with no brains. Suddenly being loquacious and charming is a mark of bad parenting (as opposed of doing the Munchichi/pop-your-body craze of the late 80s.)

I knew of no one, no one, who’d taken issue with this interview. Not even on FOX where even Bill O’Reilly was delighted by Malia’s charm.

Everywhere I read, from Michelle Obama Watch to CNN’s blogs, people defended the Obamas or thought the interview was adorable. Malia obviously engages in conversations with her parents where her opinion is welcomed, but it is also obvious who is the boss too. This isn’t an Andrew Giuliani situation where at seven the son of Rudy scrambled all over his father, eventually spilling water him while Rudy was being sworn in as mayor of New York.

But despite it being a non-issue that only raised the hackles of one pesky blogger, Barack Obama announced July 9 that no one is talking to his daughters ever again.

Some people think he is bowing to pressure from the opposition, but I think the only opposition on this issue is in Barack’s heart. He’d underestimated the public’s appetite for any insider information on his family, even the benign, cute kid kind. His children are so lovely and so precocious that they could probably pull a few electoral votes on their own, but Barack didn’t have Malia and Sasha to get elected. He had them out of love with Michelle.

Truth is if Barack allowed Malia and Sasha to be interviewed more often it would be a gateway drug to stalking the girls during soccer matches and recess. People, including myself, are already fascinated by the Obamas clothes, marriage, politics, children, lifestyle and that will gladly absorb whatever crumbs the Obamas drop. People who hate the Obama’s also can’t get enough of it either, and while you can’t protect your daughters from everything, you can stop any further encroaching on their privacy.

While Sandra doesn’t buy it, I can believe that the Obamas were having so much fun getting some time together for the holiday and Malia’s birthday that they just let protocol slip and allowed their daughters to sit in on the interview. It wasn’t particularly formal. All four were feeling the love. But what caught them by surprised was how rabidly this was absorbed by the media and the internet, and how people could not get enough of hearing Malia’s opinions, even if they were harmless.

So if you’re wondering why we won’t learn Miss Maila’s views on “Hannah Montana” any time soon, you can just point your finger at me or yourselves or Sandra Rose or Bill O’Reilly or CNN or the press corps. We’re the reason. Once you give us a taste we’re only going to want more — for good and for worse.

This doesn’t mean we should stop loving every cute family photo we can get of them, but this should also keep everything respectful and keep the crazies from getting out of line.

Color me disappointed, but … Oh, well. We’ll always have this sole interview where you revealed your father’s penchant for leaving his briefcase in the way, Malia.

PS. If you want to read a more detailed breakdown and refutation of Sandra Rose’s remarks, check out Michelle Obama Watch here, here and here.

18 thoughts on “The wee-Michelle’s Have Spoken and Now Will Never, Ever Speak Again (AKA “Why People Suck”)

  1. Hi Snob,I just read the comments at Sandra Rose. It seems that her loyal readers have turned on her on this one. Most seem to think that Ms Rose is not used to well-spoken Black kids and I would have to agree. I saw the interview and thought the kids were great! They (the Obamas) are a wonderful family.

  2. When I read Obama’s admission about getting caught up in the moment and putting the kids of tv, I thought of how I would have been if I were his 10 year old daughter. Personally, being the unsufferable ham that I am, I would have been like, “Daddy! I want to be on tv! Please please please!!”Malia and Sasha might have enjoyed it, people. These 2 are obviously good parents; cut them some slack.

  3. Snob,I am getting a little misty thinking of never hearing from the girls again. The interview was so cute.Monie,”Most seem to think that Ms Rose is not used to well-spoken Black kids”I totally agree. I was an articulate opinionated child from the age of like 7 years old. It happens when you encourage your children to read. She does come from parents with superior intelligence who are gifted public speakers. I am sure that her parents engage in meaningful conversations with her. I think she sounded like a cute 10 year old if you ask me.

  4. The children were indeed charming and well mannered – that this is seen as out of the ordinary by a misguided blogger wench speaks volumes about society as a whole and it is not good. Those girls are normal well adjusted well behaved children – whose parents love them enough to set boundaries and establish and enforce standards of conduct and behavior. While it is regrettable that they will not be doing more interviews, the Obamas are to be commended as parents for putting the well being of their children first. Unfortunately if they were allowed to do more interviews the media would take the gloves off and attack. Such is the nature of the media and politics.V/rClarice

  5. I haven’t watched the interview yet. I also haven’t bothered to go over to Sandra Rose. But I would like to say that she is a HATER from the word go. I’ve been to her blog a couple of times before and the things she posts are ridiculous in general. The Obamas are just more victims of her nonsense. She probably posted it just get her traffic back up. Malia is “too grown” because she is articulate and it’s all her parents fault. But this is the same woman who fawns over Tiny or Monica when they both glorify the conception of black women only being attracted to thugs, in my opinion. BOOOOO Sandra Rose!

  6. all: I just thought this was all insanely ridiculous considering pretty much no one, not even people who hate Barack, saw what Sandra saw. When CNN aired the report I was expecting a bunch of nonsense from the “Michelle Whitey Tape” crowd. But the most they could muster up were accusations of media favoritism because it was such a fluffy-sweet interview. I almost didn’t write anything at all since Michelle Obama Watch handled the whole back and forth yesterday, but I personally was offended because I, like a lot of black women who’ve taken umbrage with Rose, were raised in a similar manner to the Obama girls. I was encouraged to be thoughtful and creative and had the ability to articulate myself without slang or mumbling. My life was full of books, discussing culture, history and politics, are and school work. My “grown” experience was filled with nothing but compliments for me and my parents. From age 5 to 19 — I was called “mature” for my age in the good way. I was “intellectually mature.”I was still a kid. I still cried if the bread on my sandwich broke. But I was also polite and good at keeping up a conversation.As for Rose, I’m not a regular reader of her site. I think this was only the second time I read it. I’m sure she’s enjoying the uptick in readers.

  7. I saw the interview — those girls were well-mannered, polite, and self-aware, particularly Malia. I don’t know what Sandra Rose is on, but like Monie said, i don’t think she’s that used to well-spoken young Black girls.

  8. I was born in 1981 but I don’t know about the “munchichi/pop-your-body” phenomenon. Can someone enlighten me?

  9. hank: The “Munchichi” reference is to an urban childhood chant which came from “God knows where” that was popular when I was in elementary school. Probably around ’83-84 if I had to guess. So yeah, you wouldn’t remember it.Munchichis (actually spelled Monchhichis) by themselves were harmless. They were a Japanese toy/cartoon. But the chant went something along the lines of:Munchi-Munchi-chiI can pop my bodyMunchi-Munchi-chiI can do karateMunchi-Munchi-chiI can play AtariMunchi-Munchi-chiOops I’m sorryWhile doing the chant girls would dance suggestively wiggling their hips and popping their pelvises. I have no idea where this came from as all playground chants seem to fall out of the ether or are hand-me-downs from our older siblings. Like “Miss Mary Mack,” “Charlie Brown,” “Twee-Lee-lee” and “Who Bad.” With the exception of Miss Mary Mack, almost all of them had something naughty referenced, but it was more silly than anything.The “Munchichi” one only became a big deal because parents/teachers thought it bad to see 8-year-olds writhing like lap dancers. And I believe there more than a few “urban legends” about child predators thrown into such pique over the dance that they would snatch girls right off the block.The Monchichi one aside, I played all the hand games that didn’t involve swears because they seemed embarrassing to me at the time. I have fond memories of singing “I went downtown to see Charlie Brown. He gave me a nickel. I bought me a pickle. The pickle was sour. He bought me a flower,” but I don’t know if girls still play these hand games and chants as you can hear and dance to actual filth. Not just what we imagined was filthy twenty years ago. Flo-Rida’s “Low” kicks “Munchichi’s” ass. So I fear giggling over chants where you disguise swear words in a song about “Miss Lucy” fast-tail proclivities are a thing of the past.

  10. I hadn’t known about Ms. Rose’s blog until this week. I doubt I’ll visit it again. I was offended by her comments about the Obama Daughters. They are being raised in a home with FOUR Ivy League Degrees. They live in a diverse community whose main employer is the University of Chicago, which means that they’ve been around kids of other educated people. They attended Trinity UCC, which has one of the most affluent Black Congregations in the city, so they’ve been around other Black kids whose parents are educated. IF those children didn’t sound like they did, I’d then believe something was wrong with Barack and Michelle. Being the child of older parents (back when it wasn’t ‘ the in-thing’), I was raised mostly around adults. Meaning, that I believe I would have been called ‘ too grown’ by Ms. Rose. Malia and Sasha Obama sounded like the children of two well-educated parents. I get the feeling Ms. Rose was one of those ‘ back in the day’ that challenged the ‘ authenticity’ of The Cosby Show. But, I guess, if Malia and Sasha had been gum smackin’ and butchering the King’s English, then it all would be ‘ cool’. NOT. Maybe it’s a class issue, but I’d want my daughters , if ever I have them, to sound like Malia and Sasha Obama.

  11. I’m on a blog commentary fast…but I couldn’t resist this one. Malia and Sasha have more sense than many people twice their age. Back to my fast.

  12. You bloggers are give Sandra Rose too much shine. She thinks R&B singer Monica from the 90’s is still a star, and she thinks Tiny (TI’s baby mama) is some kind of socialite. She also photo shops pics of to start rumors, she is low budget.

  13. Anyone who thought that child sounded too grown, clearly has not spent anytime in recent years around kids. I saw that clip and my goodness Malia sounds like what a 10 year old should sound like and I say this as the monther of a 16 year old and a 2 year old so I know kids. I agree w/Rikyrah. these kids have been raised in Hyde Park which is home to the U of Chicago, and with parents with multiple Ivy League degrees, how else should they sound? I’m sorry but if they sounded like Yo my Pops is gonna be Prez, or some other nonsense, I would be scared. Can I admit I like Michelle and the girls better than Obama himself, they are so adorable and seem so real. I get sad thinking that maybe the reason some of us would even question this family is because we have bought into the myth that there are no Black families left in America.

  14. Hehe, Ms. Rose should come and spend a day at the Latin School here in Chicago… That would probably make her have a heart attack. In fact, I don’t know what school Malia goes to, but I wouldn’t be surprised if was indeed the Latin School. Not to say some of us public school folks couldn’t give them a run for their money–at the “right” public school…She’s just hatin’…

  15. Malia is smart and self aware that is not ‘too grown’. Only people who feel children should be seen and not heard think this way.I think Sandra was probably beaten too much as a child or ignored or just needs a hug. The Obama children seem well adjusted, intelligent, and sweet. I hope my kids (whenever I have them) are just so.

  16. Thanks for the explanation, Snob. I’d heard references to “munchichis” before, but now I have a much better understanding of the nuances.

  17. Hey, Snob,I don’t much like rugrats, but any bright, well-spoken child is totally cute in my book. Of course she’s articulate, goddammit. She’s got two intelligent, well-read, articulate parents. As my favourite little girl said to me when I asked her how come at age four she knew about her esophagus, “Well, my dad’s a psychiatrist and my mom’s a lawyer, you know.”It’s obvious that this Sandra Rose person who can’t differentiate between “well-spoken” and “well-articulated” (what, her bones were joined together well?) finds an intelligent and articulate black child an oddity.That said, I think the Obamas’ kids are utterly adorable.

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