She is a very accomplished and intelligent woman who not only achieved the classic American Dream, but also greatly exceeded it. Yet, she stands before audiences today with a huge chip on her shoulder imagining she is downtrodden because of her race.
She was accepted at Ivy League Princeton University in the early 1980’s, partly through Affirmative Action, but mostly as a “legacy” due to her older brother’s attendance at Princeton. She majored in Sociology with a minor in African American Studies, writing her Senior Thesis on “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community”
Attending Harvard Law School after Princeton, she put her energies into recruiting black undergrads to Harvard Law from other schools and she took part in demonstrations demanding more minority students and professors.
Growing up in Chicago’s predominantly Black South Shore, she enjoyed a modest two parent family upbringing along with her brother in a one-bedroom apartment. She and her husband and two daughters now live in a $1.6 Million Dollar Georgian revival Kenwood mansion.
Her father, even though afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis in his 20s, went to work every day for Chicago’s Municipal Water Department and was a Democrat Precinct Captain. He took pride in the accomplishments of his two children, especially her brother whose talents with basketball and high grades earned him a scholarship to Princeton, eventually gaining him the position of Head Basketball Coach for Brown University.
Her mother, a stay at home Mom, also helped support the family with a Secretarial job at Spiegel’s. Of the upbringing their parents gave them, her brother once said,
“Without being immodest, we were always smart, we were always driven and we were always encouraged to do the best you can do, not just what's necessary.”
Even though she skipped Second Grade, she wasn’t quite at the top of her class. Not getting the attention of her School’s College Counselors, as did her brother, didn’t hold her back. Even though some of her teachers thought her grades and test scores wouldn’t get her into one of the Ivy League Colleges, she was accepted at Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985.
From there she amassed quite an impressive resume, graduating Harvard Law School, a former associate dean at the University of Chicago a vice president at the University of Chicago Hospitals and sitting on six boards, including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.
It was during her time in College that she wrote in her Senior Thesis,
“Princeton made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before.”She continued,
“I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus, as if I really don't belong,” and “Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.”
Earlier she wrote that she was,
“determined to utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit [the black] community first and foremost.”Yet she also wrote,
“As I enter my final year at Princeton, I find myself striving for many of the same goals as my White classmates -- acceptance to a prestigious graduate or professional school or a high-paying position in a successful corporation. Thus, my goals are not as clear as before.”
In spite of living in a mansion and earning a six figure income, not to mention her husband is also an accomplished professional also earning six figures, US Senator and leading contender for the presidency of America, she says their student loans weren’t paid off until 2004, 16 years after graduation and they “can finally live comfortably,” adding,
“The cost of education is ridiculous. We find that young people give up their dreams because they don't have the money.”
Before an audience in Greenville, South Carolina, she says that her husbands books are the only reason they recently got out of debt, in spite of both earning nearly one half million dollars a year, money rightfully earned due to their education and hard work. Yet, she tells the same crowd,
“We know what we need to do with public education because there are thousands of excellent public schools all over this country. We know what they look like, we know what they cost. Our problem is that they only exist for the fortunate few.”
Does she include herself and her husband as “the fortunate few?”
Speaking before an audience at USC earlier this year, she told the students,
“Who I am is from how I was raised, growing up with working-class parents. The lens I see life through is from my childhood.”
That childhood included being allowed only one hour of television a night. She and her brother were expected to fill their time with books, chess, sports and dinnertime conversations with their parents.
Yet, is this what she advises for others to seek their own successes?
In April 2007 she told a group of women,
“I wake up every morning wondering how on earth I am going to pull off that next minor miracle to get through the day. I know that everybody in this room is going through this. That is the dilemma women face today. Every woman that I know, regardless of race, education, income, background, political affiliation, is struggling to keep her head above water.”
By February 2008 the message is,
“To provide a good education for all children and universal health care, people will have to give something up for the greater good.”Just what is to be “given up” remains unclear. But, how do you ask people you describe as “struggling to keep their heads above water” to “give up” anything? One wonders if she is willing to sacrifice her $1.6 Million Dollar Georgian revival Kenwood mansion?
Instead of touting the possibilities available when someone does work hard and strives to improve themselves, she advocates making the path easier. She acts as if she is unappreciative of the breaks she received, possibly over more qualified candidates and instead sees herself as a “victim” of some prejudiced society that blocked her efforts. It is possible that “victicrat” mentality is what led to her recent, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” gaffe.
Could she feel she’s “a pitiful figure buffeted by hostile forces, whose only hope for survival is to return the hostility, and to band together with others like herself ("the Black community") for mutual aid, all of them in a hostile posture to the out-group,” as one writer describes the “victicrat” mentality?
In her senior thesis mentioned above, she complained about the “liberal students and faculty leaving her feeling like an outsider,” yet today she advocates the very liberalism she felt slighted by in college instead of the hard work and strong family structure she was taught from childhood.
Perhaps, realizing she had been given help getting into an Ivy League College like Princeton, she felt less than others because they had to earn their way in. Even though it was through Affirmative Action and being a legacy that she was admitted to Princeton, she worked hard and accomplished what the majority of American's, White or Black, can only dream of. She has failed to see that Affirmative Action only got her in the door and the rest she worked hard to achieve herself, like so many others have.
Nothing in life worth having really comes easy and to want to give others an easy road sets them up for the same chip she has, not appreciating their own accomplishments because of the perception they didn't earn them. Not every one struggling to be successful will make it, that’s just life and all we have been guaranteed is the opportunity to try.
As educated and successful as Michelle Obama is, she can't see the very Liberalism she advocates is the chip she carries on her shoulder.
UPDATE 1: The UK's Daily Mail visited the neighborhood Michelle Obama grew up in and found a far different scene than they expected. Mrs O: The truth about Michelle Obama's 'working class' credentials
UPDATE 2: Any doubts about the goal of this couple should be dispelled with what she told a group of youg women in Ohio recently, Michelle Obama: "Don’t Go Into Corporate America"
If you buy into that story about them struggling to pay off student loans for 16 years, while buying and moving into a $1.6 Million mansion, I have some ocean front property I can sell you down in Oklahoma.