Blog Asks “If Michelle Was White.” More Like Could Harold Ford Jr. Get Elected Dogcatcher In Blackland?

The Chicago Tribune’s Exploring Race blog has posed the question “What if Michelle Obama was white?” This “well, duh” question has already been explored by most black blogs and the universal answer is that he wouldn’t have even been a senator, let alone president.

But they asked anyway, you know, for poops and giggles I suppose and they will likely get some passionate responses (and passionate responses to those responses), but the reality is despite all of our progress in the better acceptance of interracial couples, it’s hard to get elected to office when you are a black person married a white person.

Case in point: Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. who I wrote about earlier this year. A member of our quasi “black aristocracy” (as in he comes from a political family of influence and means), Ford reached prominence on his family name and good looks, then ran a campaign for the senate where he lost by a narrow margin. Some say he was hurt by his religious pandering. Others say he was hurt by a Republican backed commercial that portrayed Ford as a white woman chasing, playboy bunny hound.

Which was kind of, sort of true, but mean/racist because what did that have to do with being a senator? Then Ford married Emily Threlkeld and ALL. KINDS. OF. HELL. broke loose in “Blackland.”

Comments from Big Head DC’s blog:

“I think he has not given his political career any thought. If he runs for any office again, surely he won’t win. You don’t carry the black vote and marry white. I will never vote for him again.”– Pat, Memphis

“The reason so many blacks are upset is because Harold Ford Jr. has always courted the black vote and black people except when it comes to his marriage. I am sure when he is running for office and goes into the black neighborhoods he will not take his white wife along. This also gives black women the assumption that as black men progress their appreciation of black women decreases. It also gives the impression that they are saying “I have made it and here is my trophy”!!!!!” — Connie, Memphis

“The only use Harold had for blacks period in the 9th Congressional Dist was votes. After 10 years of his representation we ALL need Anus Reconstruction Surgery. He did a number on us. This young man took Self Serving Politician to a new level.” — Anonymous

And there is this long, over-the-top, angry note which pretty much sums up how well this all went over with some blacks. It essentially accuses Ford of treason, then slaps him around for a perceived slight against Martin Luther King, Jr.:

This couple had the nerve to have their engagement party on MLK’s 40th anniversary marking his assassination in Memphis. This was very disrespectful to the dead leader and to the community. It was insensitive and disrespectful to have an engagement party on this day at all. However adding injury to insult, MLK and his black wife did not make the sacrifices that they did so that well off black men can marry white women as trophies. (Seventy) of black families are being raised by single mothers, which is leading to the deterioration of the country as a whole. Children who are abandoned by their fathers are becoming negative statistics and impacting the entire society. Many black men do not value black women enough to marry them and raise their families, partially due to the after effects of slavery and the medias propaganda that white women are more desirable and should be valued. As a politician this man is supposed to be a role model, by this action he is setting the example that well off black men should abandon their responsibilities to their communities and marry trophy white women who should be valued more than black women. His fiancée is an unattractive woman, with a seemingly mediocre background and would probably never have married an attractive well off man of her own race. So one would get the impression that this is not love, but that he is showcasing a white “trophy” on MLK’s anniversary, which is the height of disrespect and in my opinion shows that he is brainwashed, confused and needs deprogramming. Many people view this marriage as political suicide.

You don’t have to be an sociologist or a psychologist to figure out that despite our progress there are a still a lot insecurities in the black community and nothing brings them out more passionately than that shunted feeling black people (especially black women) get when black men who “make it” marry outside their race.

When you’re used to getting kicked around it’s hard not to take it personal. Even I get that feeling from time-to-time and I like to considering myself pretty egalitarian about the issue. I’m almost two people about it with the logical side of my brain saying people should be judged by their character and can marry whomever they want because their marriage is about them, not me and I wouldn’t want someone nosing in my personal business, casting judgment on my intentions.

But my gut wants to strangle Elin Woods.

It’s insane because Tiger Woods is not my personal property, so what do I care? Yet I do. This is because I grew up watching black women get unceremoniously dumped all the time. Or seeing them not in the running at all as viable mates. I can’t help it. I take it personal, but I temper my response, my logic reminding me that this is NOT about me.

Plus, being a trophy wife isn’t exactly an ideal thing, considering a lot of it is hedged
on your appearance, but it’s the wanting to be desired that gets us. Everyone wants to be desired. Everyone. Especially black women. Hence why being married to a white person, particularly a black man married to a white woman, is a death knell to getting the black vote.

Black women and older black voters make up the bulk of the black vote and they are the ones most likely to not approve due to that giant “I’ve been personally affronted!” feeling they would have every time they’d see someone like Emily Threlkeld’s smiling face. And any smart person running against someone like Ford would use this rift against him, never quite saying he was a sell-out, but would repeatedly question his loyalty to his constituents, arguing that Ford would only serve his own interests, not that of the community.

It just wouldn’t work. All things aren’t that equal in Blackland yet.

Not that white people are 100 percent comfortable with this notion either. There’s a reason why a lot of politicians are as personally boring as possible (straight, married to someone who is not “exotic” in any kind of way, Christian, usually with some kids), because that’s what voters what. There are exceptions to the rule (Jeb Bush is married to a Latina — but then he was governor of Florida, so that probably helped him), but for most politicians the rule of the day is to be married, preferrably within their own ethnicity and religious sect, be Christian, be heterosexual and not to have any kink in the closest that could come out to haunt them.

(Like paid hookers or interns or Euro sex clubs or nasty text messages or cocaine or secret half-black, out-of-wedlock children or male pages or hook-up trolling in airport men’s restrooms.)

None of that stuff. Can’t have it. Americans are both notorious freaks and prudes all at the same time, hence all the politicians have to at least be able to appear as close to June and Ward Cleaver as possible. People want the fantasy. They will vote for the fantasy.

For many in Blackland, a white woman is simply not part of that fantasy.

172 thoughts on “Blog Asks “If Michelle Was White.” More Like Could Harold Ford Jr. Get Elected Dogcatcher In Blackland?

  1. Wow c.n.edaw,I’d like to see what a black barbie namely you look like. Also so you don’t fine Mrs. Obama beautiful? Okay. I don’t think they are just talking about her looks. Her education, good upbringing, community service and the whole lot go into play when they describe this woman. As as far as her hairstyle, how would you have her wear her tresses? Remember she has to look nice but not fly. She represents so much more than that.Peace

  2. his dad is 1/4 asian, 1/2 black and 1/4 indian, and his mom is 3/4 asian and 1/4 white. do the math. putting it all together, he’s half asian and quarter black. so again, would him marrying an asian woman be an issue?

  3. c.n. edaw:i think those people who ask you those questions need to worry about why they’re single and no one wants them. eff what they see you as, and worry about what your man sees you as. it kills me when people critique others relationship when they can’t do good for themselves.

  4. @c.n.edaw: I have to disagree that MO isn’t a beautiful woman. I saw her closeupinperson at a rally, and did a double take. She wears her hair like I used to wear mine, flat ironed, so whatever.@Queenie: I don’t think we’re dogging anyone for their education or lack of, but like Rikyrah said hundreds of posts ago, it’s hard to ignore that for some of these men, all she gotta be is WHITE.I have an uncle who’s only married white women. I work in an office that has a lot of young, unmarried, white women with children. All by black men with multiple children by multiple white women, but this probably says something about the women, too. It’s at the library when a group of black girls comes in and sees the black boys with the white girls. The girls all wear the same uniform clothes, have the same hairstyles, go to the same schools, andl live in the same neighborhoods, but the boys are with the white girls.

  5. @c.n. edawI’m sure you would consider Michelle Obama beautiful if she looked more like you huh! Light skinned black woman. Sounds like you are buying the hype you pretend to be against.

  6. Stop scratching the surface ladies!There was a law making interracial marriage illegal- loving vs. Virginia, look it up!Men don’t like ALPHA FEMALES…periodPOWER BIT*HES DON’T GET MARRIED!This is way deeper than media influence and different ethnicities perspectives of the “American dream”

  7. i love strong, educated, opinionated, and ambitious women. i butt heads with them consistently, but i enjoy a woman who challenges me.

  8. I was very impressed with how well written your blog is and some of the responses above. Thank you for writing this. My sister, who is white, bless her is extremely attracted to black men, but no relationship gets serious, because they are scared of their families reaction. She also tends to get a lot of threats from her current man’s exes. It saddens me that we judge so quickly, and in my opinion so incorrectly. I was very hopeful, after reading your blog and some of the comments, that with time and the right influences, the intensity of these judgements will wane.Thank you again.

  9. To anoymous. I don’t consider myself a black barbie–other people have called me that. There’s certainly a difference. So direct your veiled insult to people describing me and not at me. Secondly,when I have heard people commenting that Michelle Obama is beautiful, they are indeed talking about her looks..not all the other stuff you are talking about. I’ve heard stunning, gorgeous, etc. It’s just my opinion, of course, but I just think she’s an attractive accomplished woman. Period. All those things you ae mention MAY indeed be why people describe her as such, but my personal opinion is that they feel the need to play up her looks BECAUSE she is black and not light skinned. They feel the need to advance the idea that a dark skinned black woman can be gorgeous whether she is or not. Which I suppose is fine, since so much is done to advance the notion of the opposite–however I think it would be more productive if it were true. Again, just my opinion. She’s attractive, even pretty to some; but she’s no Naomi Campbell. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t think most people are getting that deep when they comment on her looks…but those who are prove my point to a degree. They can’t just say she’s a smart attractive black woman. They feel the need to add on adjective after adjective to the extreme.As for her hair. I have never liked that stiff bob (with the turned up ends in some cases) style that she and Condoleeza Rice before here sported. One, because I think that style is aging and dates you IF it’s not an updated bob style that MOVES! Not stiff and over stylized.And to me Oprah is a perfect example of someone who has relaxed hair of a common African American texture (not more naturally straight or wavy) that always looks polished, age appropriate and has hair that moves when she wears her natural hair relaxed. Her stylist could certainly give the first lady a conservative style that is also fashion forward and more flattering and MOVES. I worked in television news and know what hair has to look like for a mass audience (no “fly” hairdos on black women on the local news in the South) and I just know she could do better with her resources and hair type. Just my opinion. Again, this is another area where I feel like people are reluctant to criticize becasue saying Michelle Obama’s hairstyle is not good is akin to sayig “a dark skinned black woman’s hair is nappy” and that’s not at all what I am saying. I just don’t like her hair. It’s not a personal indictment of her or dark skinned black women; but people take it as such so thereforeI typically remain silent on the issue until I saw this article. Again to me it’s the over-identifying with this woman that comes with the fact that she’s black and black alone that compels people to invest too much of how they view themselves as black women. Frankly I think she could be relatively unaccomplished and people would still be heaping on the compliments just because they would be glad Barack is married to a black woman.

  10. Actually, no I wouldn’t find Michelle Obama more attractive if she were a light skinned black woman. Her face, too me would still be too unsymmetrical and her overbite too prominent for me to personally find her “stunningly beautiful” as I have heard her described. Based on the topic at hand I am wondering if people would find her less “gorgeous” if she were a shade or two lighter. Would the things that are so prominent to me be more visible to so many people who are invested in advancing her as the poster child for the dark brown skinned woman. A lot of whom walking around in the mall here are better looking than Michelle Obama, just generally speaking and no one is describing them as stunningly gorgeous.I mention Condoleeza Rice, a few shades lighter than Michelle. In better shape. A more symmetrical face (but she does have a prominent gap in her teeth however that is not something typically something blacks completely frown on as a detraction from looks) yet I don’t recall all the accolades for her looks and SHE is equally if not MORE accomplished than Michelle O.–if we are going on the logic that how one presents themselves and smarts, etc is WHY everyone thinks Michelle O is so gorgeous.No, Condi was not even pretty because she was a Republican and therefore her accomplishments (or looks and style) were not in line with advancing black beauty because most of us didn’t agree with what she stands for. No one (or few blacks) could objectively look at her looks OR her accomplishments because they were stuck on conservative Republican. It clouds the vision, in the same way Michelle O being the FIRST black first lady is clouding the perception of many about her looks and what her influence is or should be on black women. One can be proud of who she is without feeling thinking eveything about her is perfect and cannot be criticized.And for the record, Condi’s hair was awful too. I just cannot understand how these women can live in work in “chocolate cities” and not have better hairdressers. But perhaps they are too busy OR they feel those typical hair styles make them relatable.When we have our next black president and his wife is truly a knock out (light dark or whatever)and just as accomplished I can’t imagine how people will react OR do we honestly believe just because we project our insecurities about how we are viewed onto Michelle the entire world will change how it sees the rest of us ordinary black women in just a mere 4 to 8 years? I don’t think so. I really don’t. And I just worry that’s going to be huge let down for a whole lot of us.

  11. To anonymous: Trust me; I don’t find YOUR opinions particularly engaging or enlightening either. However I am willing to EXPLAIN why rather that being trite and rude. Funny how someone so eager to DEFEND Michelle Obama would act so unlike her. While I don’t find her gorgeous, stunning or beautiful–I do (both prior and after interviewing her for my local t.v. station ) find her to be incredibly CLASSY.

  12. michelle obama is…..nice looking…..for a first lady. probably one of the best if not the best looking first ladies ever. is she a beautiful woman as far as physically attractiveness goes in relation to other women out there? i don’t think so. the white chick shown is better looking than her.

  13. I totally agree. Michelle Obama is an attractive woman, but there are far better looking women out there. The same can be said for Emily Ford. She is attractive — in a cute sort of way. Nothing about her appearance is remarkable.

  14. And it continues . . . .I was once in that group of “it doesn’t matter who you date, it’s your business”. Then I looked around and saw how disrespected black women have become. I’ve seen educated, attractive black men, as the joke goes, who would run over their grandmothers to get to a homely white woman. They buy the hype of white woman as the epitome of beauty and desirability. White women know this too – I’ve had a few try to get my goat pointing out how “black men want them”. I say try, they don’t succeed.For those who believe IRR is an option for black women, they need only look at the online personals. Count how many white men are open to a romantic relationship with black women. Then count how many are looking “for their first IR f*ck”. Far more in the latter category than the former. Black women are seen as viable, desirable life partners. Black women’s opposition to IRR is not new; read Randall Kennedy’s “Interracial Intimacies” for an annotated history. Black women were upset about Frederick Douglass’ white wife. And for every black man who “claims” they are dating IR because there aren’t any black women on their level, there are far more going Wesley Snipes/Dennnis Rodman – dogging out black women. Bourgietopia

  15. black women are among the least likely to date someone out of their race. y’all aren’t breaking down doors or even doing this on some sort of mass scale. minimal at best. on those very same personals, look at how many black women are even open to it. it is what it is.

  16. Black men grow up with black mothers and sisters, in the hood, attend an all black high school and have a black high school sweet hearts. Then when they acheive fiancial independence, they forget the people who had their backs years and years ago.Before I go further, I am blessed in that I have a wonderful black man that considers black women true queens and the ultimate treasure. So….In my mind, I agree that everybody should be with who they want. But our black men need to be aware. When the money runs low, my european adversary will run away with whats left. You can check with Michael Strahan on that. Should she win bigtime in court, she’ll flaunt it in your face every chance she gets. O.J. knows how that works. She won’t be there for you when you get old. Hey Quincy….can I get a witness? No matter how bad she treats you, she will still come out a winner in court because you will have to pay the price for the trophy that you were never meant to have. Remember the brothas before you that were lynched for even glancing in a white woman’s direction? Although Tiger says he’s Cablasian, society says he’s a black man. He, like every black man that pursues and wins the procelan trophy will pay or has paid the price. Open your wallets wide my brothas. Your docket is just about up.I’m not hatin. I’m just sayin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: