Thursday, October 8

Headline Reads: Obamas are Black. Nation STILL in Shock.

So, in case you didn't know the Obamas are black. *GASP* But what I find most frustrating is this New York Times article that traces Michelle Obama's roots back to her great-great-great grandmother. The inane headline reads: In First Lady's Roots, A Complex Path From Slavery.

I'm sorry, what? Does that even mean anything? I'm not sure. This article read like swine flu in America. It didn't become important until something that our media considers more important than anyone else becomes the subject of old news. People die from the flu all. The. Time. People have slave owning ancestors all. The. Time. People have ancestors who were slaves all. The. Time. It just doesn't begin to matter until people die from the flu in America, instead of Croatia. Or someone of prominence has a sordid slave ancestry.

The story goes like this: Michelle's great-great-great grandmother was a young slave girl who's owner, at the age of 15, impregnated her. That is most definitely scandalous. But it's not the first time. Then, at the end of the article, they turned to their readership asking them to "help fill in the Obama Family tree!" and encouraging people to send in their pictures if they think they are connected to the interactive family tree on the NYT website. I'd really like to be the intern who has to sort through all that mail. And let's be real here. It's ridiculous how much the NYT likes their interactive media. But besides that, way to appeal to the people's pathos. the need to be a part of something bigger than themselves, when what we are made of is already huge. The facets of American society that people don't even realize they touch is uncanny. Ok. Enough American Studies major talk for you.
And now the NYT is running a follow up article with the headline: One Family's Roots, A Nation's History.


I'm sorry, what? Does that even mean anything? This article is a compilation of perspectives on the issue. They have everyone from a cultural analyst to a Harvard professor (Who you can always trust, the little lambs) to a real live author.

So, I guess my point is this: Does this even matter? Where is the conundrum of race here? Isn't race already a conundrum because a) it in no way reflects one's ability and b) American society has somehow made it a defining factor of a person's identity. What makes this family any different when the whole point of America's First Family is to present an image of an every-day family. All American. Wholesome. Just like you. Why is this issue still a stigma? I'm over it.

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