Someone Needs to Tell Bonnie Erbe to Let It Go (Rants)

Columnist Bonnie Erbe of “why isn’t the First Lady kicking ass and taking names already” fame is still complaining. Most recently she shot down professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s argument that Michelle Obama’s domestic and ceremonial role as First Lady was already a revolution for black women considering how we’ve been treated and portrayed historically — which would be not as women, let alone human, at all.

But let’s listen to what Erbe had to say this time. (Sigh)

First lady Michelle Obama could be making history. She could take giant steps to give women and women of color more power in society and in the workplace. Instead, she self-selected the title of Mom-in-Chief and told Time Magazine, she stays out of public policy.

This attitude of hers is sad, very sad. I know it’s constructed by the Obama public relations types—who want to tone down this brilliant, eminently qualified career woman. This new quote in particular reminds me of an all-time clunker from Barbara Bush who told the media when her husband was president she just, “went her own dumb way” and stayed out of politics.

What is it with these women? Or more importantly, what is with American society that it cannot accept a working spouse first lady? Is that so threatening it causes immediate public fear and dislike? If the answer is yes, and I fear it is, it reconfirms my belief during the last election attitudes toward race moved markedly forward, but gender-bias was allowed to remain politically correct.

Once again, Erbe continues to basically ignore the bigger picture or get over her narrow view of feminism or even acknowledge the arguments of black women and feminists who do find Michelle’s role revolutionary because of its novelty and her background.

More after the jump.

Image-wise, black women have Mammies and Sapphires and … not … much … in-between. And then there’s reality that a black woman working isn’t exactly new in the black community that she just seems to want to discount no matter how many ways you explain it.

In 1910, the government reported that a majority of black women worked outside the home; white women passed that milestone only in the past 20 years, census statistics show. (Washington Post)

The American historical record shows that Black women heve been part of the American work force longer than any other group of women in the United States. Though consistently undereducated, underemployed, and underpaid, these women have endured and, in doing so, have created strategies for survival and change that have given them ‘cultural flexibility’ in the areas of socialization patterns for male and female children; interpersonal, kinship and marital relations; and professional and community involvement. The effects of both institutionalized racism and sexism on women’s economic and personal choices are explored as well as the long range effect of labor market participation on family and community life. (Yolanda T. Moses, “Black American Women and Work“)

(In 1900) Black married women were much more likely to be gainfully employed than were white married women. About one-quarter of African American married women were in the labor force at any one time, eight times the share of U.S.-born white married women. Among Married women over the age of 65, one-quarter of African American women were in the labor force as well, five times the share for white women. (“Race, Gender and Work“)

Do you know how many black stay-at-home moms I knew growing up? One. Mine. Some of those black mothers had careers because they loved them. A majority had them because without two incomes the family would have been in dire straits. My grandmother picked cotton. Her sisters cleaned houses. My other grandmother cleaned houses. My all my aunts worked. I have great-aunts who were domestics and school teachers. My mom is like the weirdo who, due to my father’s very good job as an engineer and later in management for what was then McDonnell Douglas, was able to stay at home and make sure we were taken care of completely.

This was a luxury that, sadly, not all black women had a choice in affording. See, choice was non-existent. Work or don’t eat was the option for the majority of black women due to racism that kept black men from being able to get high paying jobs. You cannot compare the scars of institutionalized racism that kept everyone down regardless of educational background and geography to the unfairness of the class system which is what often impacted white women the most. As I said in an earlier post, white women and black women have very different image problems. Like, the complete opposite, and it seems extremely selfish to demand the First Lady to fulfill whatever your narrow view of what a feminist looks like.

My mom is a feminist. She raised three feminists. All while WHILE WORKING AT HOME. These things are not mutually exclusive. She’d worked since she was 10 years old and was the oldest of nine children. Believe me, she did not find this work liberating as this work was never denied to her because of her gender. As the family had no desire to starve, everyone regardless of gender was expected to work. There was nothing special about my mother being born a girl that perculded her from hard labor, picking cotton, cooking, cleaning and other work. She was not seen as too weak or too dumb in any task. It was a matter of survival.

She grew up and worked to put herself through college and received a degree in education, then went on to work as a school teacher until she started having children. Don’t tell my mother she’s an awful person because at 26, when she had my oldest sister, she’d already been working and/or partially starving for 16 years and she was tired. Don’t tell her she’s not living up to a feminist ideal just because she wanted to love her family. Don’t tell her she let all of womanhood down because when her husband told her that as long as they weren’t starving she could stay at home and that she relished in having a CHOICE for the first time in her life between work and that same starvation. That my father had a good job and was good with money and that she too was intelligent and good at saving and that together they were an awesome team who got farther and did more than their hardworking, but “Jim Crow” hampered parents.

Don’t sit there and tell me that this was a bad thing. Don’t sit there and tell me the First Lady is committing some crime by putting her daughters first and focusing on the ceremonial aspects of her role. She’s a First Lady. Not a politician, or a governor, or a senator. The role doesn’t REQUIRE you do do anything really, but be a good hostess. If you do anything more than that, that’s just bonus. And she is doing bonus. I mean, I honestly don’t know what Erbe wants the First Lady to do. Be pushy in a policy role that no one elected her to? Because that was half the problem with Hillary Clinton. As exemplary as she was, NO ONE ELECTED HER TO RUN ANYTHING (back in 1992). That was part of the pushback. It was understandable for her to be a leader when she actually got elected to the senate. She had votes behind her. But to just unceremoniously assume that you should have your very public seat at the table when you weren’t voted or appointed to be there is silly. This all seems like whininess on the part that because there isn’t a woman in a position of power equal to the president, you want the First Lady to jerry-rig her ceremonial, spousal role to fulfill this female power position vacuum.

But the most offensive thing to me about Erbe’s statements is that she assumes what Michelle Obama is doing is bad for all women, including women of color, which makes me wonder what this woman thinks the impact of the First Lady’s role is actually having on people. Yes, hearing a black woman talking about being a mom to her kids is must awful for all those black and brown women used to being dehumanized in the press. That is so hurtful to women of color! (Who often have jobs and degrees out of necessity, not because we thought it was really, really cool and grrl power and shit.) Why? I’m in pain over it RIGHT NOW! It bothers me SO MUCH to see her give commencement speeches and host guests at the White House and be fawned over by the public. That is just AWFUL for my self-esteem! All she did was go to an Ivy League school and be the primary wage-earner until her husband became president and then chose to focus on her family. My God. Think of how that will affect all the little black girls out there. What will they think?

You know? Besides, look at the smart, tall woman who gets to be First Lady and loves her husband and kids! NIGHTMARISH! AWFUL! Look! She’s hugging children and reading books. Anti-woman! That is sooo anti-woman!

I don’t think this would bother me as much if it weren’t for the fact Erbe is just refusing to see this from the point-of-view of the average black woman and her family. I’m fine with her wanting, wishing for some power grabbing, dynamo, but to basically dismiss the fact that black women and white women are different in how working outside the home is viewed — you know? Revolutionary versus “I’ve been working since I got off the damn boat, what’s so AWESOME about it?” — is one of the main reasons why black feminists and white feminists sometimes clash. You know? The overall insensitivity factor. There is this refusal to acknowledge that we went through some different kind of shit. Some dehumanizing, robbed of your femininity, “you’re not actually a woman” type shit.

I suggest she read some Sojourner Truth (or hell, some Alice Walker) and come back again.

44 thoughts on “Someone Needs to Tell Bonnie Erbe to Let It Go (Rants)

  1. For me, the true essence of feminism lies in the fact that every woman gets to make a CHOICE. Michelle has already accomplished so much career wise that to begrudge her the choice of finally being able to stay home and take care of her family seems asanine.

  2. Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a sapphire, and what is the etymology of the term?

  3. @ PCH"Sapphire" refers to a hot-to-trot, promiscuous, amoral black woman. (Her modern day equivalent would be loud talking and neck snapping on top of being loose.) I believe it originated with a character from the radio show "Amos and Andy."

  4. Geez. Is it enough right now to settle in and find an agenda? Mrs. Obama is focusing on her family, placing culture back into the public eye (maybe the columnist should catch up on DC local news), finding time to visit every cabinet level agency and its employees, visiting schools in the DC area, planting a garden with DC kids to show that green and sustainable practices do work, and volunteering. What the hell do you want her to do? Be Mother Teresea? Heck MT didn’t like MT half of the time. The last time we had a first lady who went "balls in" – she got her pride handed back to her in Congress (will the Hilary please stand up?). Chill.

  5. Hell, I am tired of working, and if it were up to me I would currently take a hiatus, but alas that is not meant to be because we need my damned income. White folks make me sick. They think that they can dictate what everyone is supposed to be doing. Whateva caucasians whateva.

  6. I’d add something but you said it all. This reminds me though of when we first moved to Memphis in the early 90s and we were the only black family in our neighborhood and one of the children I became friendly with couldn’t get over the fact my mom was a stay at home mom, she a white lady had a house cleaning service and asked my mom if she wanted a job. Now mind you she skipped EVERY other stay at home mom on the block but just thought that my mom would want to go clean other peoples houses. Needles to say my mom in her semi british sounding accent found the politest way to tell her off.

  7. Danielle,Have I told you how much I love you lately? You are SO spot on, as usual.I can’t believe that Ms. Bonnie still can’t buy a clue after she got schooled tie first time. First off, when I was coming up (late ’60s thru late ’70s) SAHMs like yours were the exception rather than the rule on my block. We had plenty of 2 parent households but most of the moms faced the ‘work or starve ‘ dilemma and acted accordingly. Secondly, I thought the whole point of feminism was for women choose the best individual path for their life, free of judgment and criticism?Women like Bonnie Erbe are the reason why I have never taken the feminism movement seriously. Their narrow, white, suburban middle class perspective is light years away from my experiences; and until they become more understanding and not discount the reality of ALL women, they’re going to continue to get the side eye from women of color and women of limited means.

  8. Now Miss Kitty you are going bring down the wrath of the hillaryites onto this site, cause femenisim is where it is at (snark).

  9. Snob, this is on point. My great-grandfather scraped to send my grandmother to Natchez College, because – family story goes -the only children he wanted my grandmother to take care of were HER OWN. And, those were the only ones she took care of..LOLShe was equally determined for her daughters, and all four of them went to college and got multiple degrees and went to work. I didn’t know any Black stay-at-home mothers. I lived in a middle class Black neighborhood, and all the women had educations and went to work. Erbe needs to go somewhere and STFU. Tired of White feminists, period.You know my feelings – White feminism was never for or about Black women , and us adopting it made no damn sense.

  10. great post snob. Personally, I think her current position is just as demanding as her former occupation. A First Lady is not the "typical" housewife raising two children while her husband goes to work. It’s a bit insulting that this Erbe lady would suggest otherwise. Also, I don’t think Michelle will be able to return to her former "secular life" once she leaves the White House. I just don’t see her life returning to normal. And honestly, who cares? She doesn’t need to justify her actions to anyone.

  11. It never ceases to amaze me how people like Bonnie Erbe can dismiss the importance of motherhood. I say that as a childless and married African-American woman. Hell, I’m rather content to be childless at the moment, but when and if I’m blessed with childern, I have the good sense to know that they just won’t raise themselves. It seems as though the First Lady had a stellar childhood. Why wouldn’t she want to give her daughters that? If Bonnie Erbe wants women to have more "power" in society, "hell, get to it." Stop trying to push your agenda down someone elses throat and "pimp that thing yourself." I am so tired of white women coming out of the closet to voice what they think women of color or even poor white women want, as if they had a damn clue. Oh and Danielle, your mom and mine could share stories over the cotton picking when they were children. If Bonnie Erbe’s mom had picked cotton in the Alabama sun, she just might "get it".

  12. As someone who considers themselves a feminist, usually I can reconcile both black and white views on suffrage and gender equality. Which means I don’t think "feminism" is the problem or that there is a such thing as "white feminism," just that there are certain so-called "feminists" who happen to be clueless. Case in point: I just think Bonnie Erbe is a flipping numbnuts. She drives me bonkers on this issue. I don’t understand her obsession. I don’t understand the need to just dismiss Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s argument. I don’t understand this view she had that would vilify basically any woman — black, white or otherwise — who would choose to stay at home. I mean, what the hell?I know there are lots of views on feminism (I believe blogs XX and Jezebel are having a huge fight about that right now), but she is just maddening. I’m not angry at all white women who happen to be feminists. I just can’t stand Erbe’s backwards-ass argument.

  13. Why is this woman getting so much attention?Does she have children? Who does she think should raise them? What opinion does she have of her kids’ (if she has them) caretakers / teachers? Does she respect them? Evidently not … if she is so upset about Mrs. Obama’s choice to put her children first. Michelle is above being "Mom in Chief", she says — that means "Mom" work is beneath her, so she’s looking down on the people she pays to take that responsibility, that chore, off her. Just like the ones she pays to clean her toilets. Isn’t that right?Being a true feminist ought not to mean rejecting and degrading work that is traditionally feminine. You know? It ought to mean valuing women’s work — so that women’s competence is shown and they are welcomed into any kind of work they want, and so that men aren’t ashamed to go into any kind of work they want. And meanwhile, who’s caring for the children? How valued do they feel? What message are they getting? "You are potentially a high-powered professional (hands unsullied by manual work or diaper changing!), therefore worthy of my respect" not "you are my child, the most important person in the world to me, and I love you."

  14. Thanks once again, Danielle. As the first commenter stated, feminism is (well, was supposed to be) about having choices. Why do so many feminists completely miss that point? This Erbe person is probably never going to realize her lack of perspective, awareness, etc. Some people don’t get that just because you can’t comprehend something doesn’t make it wrong. It may, however, make you prone to tunnel vision and an all-around pain.

  15. Im only going to say this once and I really wish it was heard by media and policy wonks….Michelle has a bright future in politics for HERSELF ahead, why on EARTH would she pull a Hillary and get mixed up in her husbands political fortunes? While I think prio one is the family, feminist minded critics should wise up and realize that shes keeping her powder dry for a very good, and very wise reason. Its like offering up two heads on a platter instead of maybe just one. Lets say that the dems cave from the inside or the GOP manages to rise from the ashes (which they most assuredly will), why have your lots cast all at once? Once the girls are grown, her husband is done, the lady can run again in 12 years and be a slam dunk in her own right rather than being tied for any reason politically or legislatively to whatever the Dems do with Barry. The Obamas have a LONG political life ahead of them, people need to chill.

  16. This reminds me that black women and the feminist movement is always a little out of step.

  17. bell hooks does an excellent exposition of the difference between traditional feminism as proscribed by Barbard Friedan in the Feminine Mistique and black feminism. Snob, I think you have it down packed. Although the aim of feminism on both sides of color line is respect, the routes are completely different. When I look at my Grandmother’s hands, I don’t just see the hands of a mother, I see sharecropper’s hands. My grandfather ran out on her and their 9 children so staying at home was not an option. I honestly wish that someone would tell Erbe that to acknowledge this difference won’t make her any less of a feminist. Also, let’s be completely honest here, I’m pretty sure that Michelle isn’t just sitting on the couch eating bon-bons all day. From what I see, she has a very real job of helping to further Barack’s agenda. Anyone who plays the hostess can tell you it’s not just fun and games, it’s about knowing people, international relations (in her case), and being the second face of this country. It’s not a paying job, but it’s got its perks!

  18. These Birkenstock Beckies are tap dancing on my last nerve.Where was all this "You Go, Girl" when Michelle Obama was being racked over the coals for being "an angry black woman" or accused of "emasculating her husband"? Oh, that’s right. THEY were the ones co-signing those myths.

  19. If she were a white First Lady I wonder if anybody would question her priorities and her top priority of taking care of her children.

  20. I may have to duck after I say this but my question isn’t whether or not Mrs. Obama takes a nine to five. I think it would be great if she did. My question would be what would she do. There is not a position available in the country that wouldn’t have the hint of favoritism or cronyism if Mrs. O was hired. Anyone wanting to bend the president’s ear would offer her a position. Seriously, how would you give the FLOTUS a performance review.For now, it’s best that she sticks with charity work and think about her career afterwards.

  21. Bonnie just doesn’t get it. You’ve touched on many of the points that she just simply misses–or just doesn’t want to acknowledge. I’ve watched her show for years and always liked that she had women of color with differing perspectives at the table. So I’m wondering why she feels the need to bash on Michelle. It’s not like she comes to this topic with no recognition of the challenges black women have faced. In this case, I think she has really bought into some of the stereotypes. Her insistence that Michelle "is the one" to make America more comfortable with career women is an example of that–and completely off base.I’ve written a post about this: Michelle Obama, Black Women and the Mommy Wars: Why Some Feminists Just Don’t Get It

  22. Co-sign Snob and ok if have are/have been married, Michelle has a real job being married to the most visible targeted Black man in the world. It is definitely a job, not only advising him on policy, but making sure he doesn’t mess up or get killed. Not to mention keeping Sasha and Malia in check. They are the most high profile Black people in the world. You think keepin that shit together and untarnished is not a JOB? Get real. I too am sick of Miss Ann promulgating choice for everyone but us, where is Michelle’s right to self determination? She has a right to raise and protect her children from all the shenanigans of DC society and support her man, who is our man too. All my a** can do is work toward retirement or maybe marry rich.Hey is Parsons done with that girl now?

  23. Remember all the comments when President Obama was running for office. Michelle was the mean, bossy Black woman. They could tell she called the shots? Well the sister is not living up to the created image of the BLACK WOMAN. They can’t handle that so they want to rag on her because she is not doing what they thought she would be doing. I knew right off, when they were whispering that "She calls the shots". most of them had never met a Black man like President Barack Obama. She has to meet a certain sterotype and she hasn’t done it. They continue to liken her to Jacqueline Kennedy instead of just accepting her as First Lady Michelle Obama. It sickens me that someone Black always has to be the Black "someone white". While I thought that Mrs. Kennedy was a very beautiful woman, she was Jacqueline Kennedy as Mrs Obama is herself, not a copy of someone else. Some people just don’t ever get it right.

  24. May I remind all readers that the one group of citizens that benifited "THE MOST" from Affimative Action was …..drumroll….WHITE WOMEN. I think that the politics of gender has only served to dilute the 50’s/ 60’s Civil Rights arguments in favor of white (media, celebrity) homosexuals and white (professional) women…period.Didn’t the proof of this hit home with Shandra Rymes’ shameful "majority populist mythology" exploitation of the black, female and homosexual characters in her plantation fantasy, aptly named, Grey’s Anatomy?May I also remind readers that during slavery there was FULL EMPLOYMENT of both African-American genders.In addition, the black family was, by law, not allowed to marry under the threat of death. So, those who so readily divide our community into "fashionable" gender camps do so at their own FAMILY peril. Black women have always been liberated. Does anyone remember the name TUBMAN? Why are we so easily duped into "Springer" debates over an issue that is put forward by those who only seek to divide us now into GENDER camps?Despite their mental gifts, or lack thereof, ALL of the Black women in my family are liberated. Always have been, always will be. Yet, because of the historical lack of opportunities, they sometimes chose men who couldn’t provide enough for their families to respect THEMSELVES. This is NOT Michelle Obama’s problem, but, perhaps she, because of her blessings, should somehow tackle this problem within the BLACK COMUNITY..after she’s not First Lady anymore. Until that time, my mother..god rest her soul, would have loved to have had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and have raised us within that type of environment.But, while we’re on the subject of the Obama’s…and representing…..Do the Obama kids have any BLACK FRIENDS?Jus Sayin’Domino49

  25. Wow Michelle Obama can’t win. First she was the angry scary black woman now she’s "only" the mom in chief.You are dead on in your post. Not sure why Bonnie doesn’t get it.

  26. BTW, Bonnie Erbe is the moderator on the PBS Sunday morning show "To the Contrary." She has stated many times over the years that she is married, but childless. She was raised in a middle-class family during the 50s & 60s and this is probably why her prespective is so limited and narrow. Trust me, when Del. Eleanor Norton Holmes is on the program again she will educate Ms. Erbe! Keep up the good work Snob!

  27. Even if Black women did not have the reputation for working, Mrs. Obama, like every other woman, has no obligation to fulfill feminist wishes unless she wants to make that her obligation.What is best for the individual family is up to the lady and her husband.

  28. "If she were a white First Lady I wonder if anybody would question her priorities and her top priority of taking care of her children." – NAGROMYes, they would. Females in any field are often under this kind of scrutiny, high profile or not. The only reason Hillary didn’t get as much of this treatment (but she did get some flak) is because Chelsea was heading towards her teens by the time they were settled in office. Laura Bush’s kids were grown, basically, by the time her husband hit office. The last really young kid at the White House before Sasha and Malia was 9 year old Amy Carter back in the 1970s. First Lady Rosalyn Carter got some flak for not letting anyone,feminists or otherwise, dictate to her. All the first ladies are hit by this one way or another; everybody wants a piece of you. It’s when there are young children involved that people suggest you are not a good mother if you have a job.Some ladies said they wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin because she would be an awful mother if she’s not at home with her children instead of in office. I was like "What in the world?!" If you’re not going to vote for her do so b/c you disagree with what she stands for on the issues, b/c you think she’s not up to meeting foreign dignitaries, something, but goodness, an "awful mother" because she has a job?

  29. I guess all I can say is.. I KNOW… RIGHT!?!?!? Your words never rang so true. I also think there is not only cultural difference but younger women don’t think of themselves as feminist either for really the same reason. I don’t think younger women feel compelled to proved something by taking on ten million jobs because it has always been expected that they go to college and work, and with the economy so bad and incomes going down most can’t afford to stay home. I envy Ms. Obama’s position and I love her for doing what she’s doing.

  30. From Irbe: "Or more importantly, what is with American society that it cannot accept a working spouse first lady? Is that so threatening it causes immediate public fear and dislike? If the answer is yes, and I fear it is, it reconfirms my belief during the last election attitudes toward race moved markedly forward, but gender-bias was allowed to remain politically correct."[1] Sounds to me like she’s one of those Clintonistas who believes it was "their turn" and that it was unfair that a black person won the election. I wonder if that emotionally colors her response to whatever Michelle does.[2] I have a BIG problem personally with a First Lady being involved in policy making. She is not an elected official, nor has she been selected for an administration position. Going down that path is very problematic (see Hillary Clinton during Bill’s administration.)[3] It’s a huge insult to say Michelle doesn’t have a job. Make no mistake, being First Lady IS a full time job, it’s more than that. It’s work, but it’s also work that puts her under intense pubic scrutiny. There are people out there who want her to fail, so she must go out of her to be dignified, to always say and do the right thing. She’s not just First Lady, she’s like Obama’s First Diplomat. That’s not an easy job. [4] I myself like her focus on education. I thought it was a brave move for MIchelle to bring the young girl from SC to the Inauguration… I wish that story would have had more legs. I’d like to see her go to schools all throughout the poor areas of the South, Appalachia, and inner cities, so people could see the de facto separate and unequal school systems we have.

  31. Erbe’s comments really make me sick. I hate this idea of women having to choose. Why does she or anyone else get to define what kind of woman Michelle Obama is? You hit the nail on the head, Danielle-choice. If I had my choice today, I’d be at home with my 2 year old instead of working outside the home full time. Fortunately, her grandmother can be with her-there are those who’d attack me for not being there and those who’d attack me for working inside the home. These boxes created by other folkses be they white men, white women, or my fellow brothers and sisters just don’t fit me and neither do they fit my first lady.

  32. Can you imagine how michelle Obama would be pillouried in the press if she continued to work! she would be savaged , the poor woman cant win!

  33. "Which means I don’t think "feminism" is the problem or that there is a such thing as "white feminism," just that there are certain so-called "feminists" who happen to be clueless." Amen to that. Women who want to claim that they are feminist ought to be licensed. As an aside, whenever I hear/read the word feminist I’m reminded of Rebecca West’s quote: "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat”Moving on … This woman Erbe seems to have missed the point entirely. Equality for women is about choice. Come to that, equality for ALL humans regardless of race, creed, gender or sexuality is about choice. Where to live, work, enjoy leisure, whether or not to raise a family and how is down to each individual, without being forced by another. Michelle could work if she wanted to. I can’t help thinking that she’s working her butt off on all sorts of projects, even if we don’t see it. There will be a first spouse in the future who keeps the day job. First Husband of your first heterosexual female president? Even better, First Husband of your first gay President. Much as I would love to see that First Husband hosting lunches for Congressional Spouses, taking the children to school and breathily describing the restored wallpaper of the Red Room, I suspect that he will be trotting off with his briefcase each morning, unhindered by expectations or judgement. Well regarding career, anyway.Erbe should have read interviews that Michelle has give, in which she states that her mother didn’t think she had what it took to be a stay at home mom, that it takes a lot to cope with the level of intellectual boredom (I can’t remember the quote exactly, forgive me) that bringing up children and being a homemaker can sometimes entail. And I speak of women for whom financial stability enables choice. After that, it’s down to the individual. I can’t see Mrs Obama not working. I think she’ll always be doing something to benefit others, or to highlight issues that need addressing. She’s s strong articulate woman who cares about other people. That IS a career, even if you’re not earning. Being a mother is a career. Why do women like this do other women down? Erbe’s got a platform, and she doesn’t use it for anything useful. Grrr. Sorry. Long.

  34. Well Snob, you may not believe there is such a thing as white feminism, but there sure as hell is such a thing as white privilege, and Erbe’s myopic views, similar to those of Linda Hirshman, simply reek of it. Her dismissal of Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s views was so stunningly presumptuous and arrogant, it was startling. I agree with Jenn: Erbe has revealed her white middle class bias and her inabilty to view topics from a perspective other than her own on "To the Contrary" many times. Diversity has been reflected on the panels of her show, but offering a platform to disparate voices isn’t the same as respecting and validating their point of view. She’s perfectly comfortable in the notion that she knows what’s best for black women better than black women, and Michelle Obama only gives her a consistent target for her maternalistic patronizing.

  35. I guess I’m going to have to be the lone voice of dissent here, for I damn sure don’t see anything commendable or admirable about choosing to be a housewife and cater to your husband all day long. Lord knows MY mother’s generation didn’t fight the good fight and deal with sexist crap so that my generation can sit down and take pride in being a damn housewife. We as Black women have a LONG way to go, unfortunately.

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