20 June 2009

Robin Givhan: And on this day, Clair Huxtable begat Michelle Obama...

...and those that disagree are backwoods racists...

Although there is less adulation for Michelle Obama than her husband, Barry-O, there are still instances where black journalists, who believe that no other blacks have done anything notable, believe the Obamas to be the second coming of Christ. I can't walk into any store without looking on the cover of Ebony magazine and not see the Obamas in some type of embrace. It's as if the world has returned to its peaceful beginnings now that the Obamas are in the White House...and look, they're even caring for Michelle's mother. I understand gooey coverage over a history making election like the Election of 2008, but it's past due time journalists get back to what they do best...lie write about the news. Oftentimes, the Obamas are compared to JFK and Jackie-O, and like JFK, specifically, journalists would become like schoolgirls, preoccupied with the youthfulness of Kennedy, and covering up for his failures, like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Recently, yet another comparison was made between the Obamas and some Amurican icon. The Huxtables, from the TV series, The Cosby Show (1984-1992 on NBC). If I recall, some blacks did not like that show because they felt it did not give a real depiction of LWB, or living while black. They bemoaned the strong role model Cliff Huxtable was for his son, and the strong matriarch, Clair. They said that it was rare to have two black professionals as involved with their families as Cliff and Clair...not to mention the music performances. I'm sure you can understand my confusion when Robin Givhan of the Huffington Post, all of a sudden forgot all about the fake portrayal of blacks in a rush to compare Clair Huxtable to Michelle Obama (besides, haven't there been plenty of instances where black women are portrayed as strong and independent?).

I am aware that TV is the medium where many create their stereotypes about others. Black women are often portrayed in a negative light, and it's rare to see a positive portrayal of a group that is so often mischaracterized. To gloss over the instances that caused people to have misgivings about the First Lady, is disingenuous. Many of the First Lady's critics are not racists, by any means, but if the First Lady proclaims on national television, that her husband having a serious shot at the presidency marks the first time she's been proud of her country, does give people pause. Somehow, I don't think Clair Huxtable, for one minute, would mirror the same sentiment.

There are real world examples of positive portrayals of black women, and black men, that get often overlooked by these same purveyors of race-baiting. People like Givhan don't consider success stories like Condolezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, or Michael Steele, as legitimate examples of how far black women and men can get in this country, simply because they're not affiliated with the Democratic Party. After all, Harry Belafonte and Ted Rall both vocalized what many blacks felt about Rice, in particular, that she was a "house n---a" and she forgot that she was black. Those blacks who stray from the Democratic Party plantation are no longer legitimate commentators on race relations. They're dismissed as "self-loathers" or strange phenomenon.

I find it shameful that black journalists must have their blackness validated. Seems to me it's not black conservatives, who don't look through labels anyway, but black liberals who need to relive the "black experience." The Obamas do not define blackness for me, nor should they for any other black person. When I find the time, I plan to pick up Kevin Jackson's newest book, The Big Black Lie.

Have a great day...

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