Michelle Obama Speaks Ill Of Whites

February 22nd, 2008 Posted By Pat Dollard.



Michelle Obama’s senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain “on the periphery.” Read the full thesis here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

“My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before,” the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. “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. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.”

The thesis, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in 1985, has been the subject of much conjecture on the blogosphere and elsewhere in recent weeks, as it has been “temporarily withdrawn” from Princeton’s library until after this year’s presidential election in November. Some of the material has been written about previously, however, including a story last year in the Newark Star Ledger.

Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

During a presidential contest in which the term “transparency” has been frequently bandied about, candidates have buried a number of potentially revealing documents and papers. In Hillary Rodham Clinton’s case, there’s been a clamoring for tax records, White House memos and other material the candidate’s team has chosen to keep from release. The 96-page Princeton thesis, restricted from release by the school’s Mudd Library, has also been the subject of recent scrutiny.

Earlier this week, commentator Jonah Goldberg remarked on National Review Online, “A reader in the know informs me that Michelle Obama’s thesis … is unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008, at the Princeton library. I wonder why.”

“Why a restricted thesis?” asked blogger-pastor Louis Lapides on his site Thinking Outside the Blog. “Is the concern based on what’s in the thesis? Will Michelle Obama appear to be too black for white America or not black enough for black America?”

Attempts to retrieve the document through Princeton proved unsuccessful, with school librarians having been pestered so much for access to the thesis that they have resorted to reading from a script when callers inquire about it. Media officers at the prestigious university were similarly unhelpful, claiming it is “not unusual” for a thesis to be restricted and refusing to discuss “the academic work of alumni.”

The Obama campaign, however, quickly responded to a request for the thesis by Politico. The thesis offers several fascinating insights into the mind of Michelle Obama, who has been a passionate advocate of her husband’s presidential aspirations and who has made several controvesial statements, including this week’s remark, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” That comment has fueled debate on countless blogs, radio talk shows and cable news for days on end, causing her to explain the statement in greater detail.

The 1985 thesis provides a trove of Michelle Obama’s thoughts as a young woman, with many of the paper’s statements describing the student’s world as seen through a race-based prism.

“In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community,” the Princeton student wrote, “I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture.” Other thesis statements specifically pointed to what was seen by the future Mrs. Obama as racially insensitive practices in a university system populated with mostly Caucasian educators and students: “Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.”

To illustrate the latter statement, she pointed out that Princeton (at the time) had only five black tenured professors on its faculty, and its “Afro-American studies” program “is one of the smallest and most understaffed departments in the university.” In addition, she said only one major university-recognized group on campus was “designed specifically for the intellectual and social interests of blacks and other third world students.” (Her findings also stressed that Princeton was “infamous for being racially the most conservative of the Ivy League universities.”)

Perhaps one of the most germane subjects approached in the thesis is a section in which she conveyed views about political relations between black and white communities. She quotes the work of sociologists James Conyers and Walter Wallace, who discussed “integration of black official(s) into various aspects of politics” and notes “problems which face these black officials who must persuade the white community that they are above issues of race and that they are representing all people and not just black people,” as opposed to creating “two separate social structures.”

To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and “comfort” level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. Other questions dealt with their individual religious beliefs, living arrangements, careers, role models, economic status, and thoughts about lower class blacks. In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a “separationist and/or pluralist” viewpoint or an “integrationist and/or assimilationist” ideology.

Just under 90 alums responded to the questionnaires (for a response rate of approximately 22 percent) and the conclusions were not what she expected. “I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.”

10 Responses

  1. drillanwr

    :arrow: “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. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.”

    :!: ME: Two words, Michelle … AFFIRMATIVE ACTION … Which the hell is it? You’re always BLACK FIRST, or not??

  2. cnchess

    Oh, surprise! Wife of a Black Activist is a racist too. Stop the presses!

  3. Paslode

    Kind of like being a Muslim first…..Sounds like Mrs. Osama has a chocolate chip on her shoulder.

  4. Dan (The Infidel)

    Living in the past. And playing the victim. Yep she’s a racist hose-bag alright. Like, this is a big surprise? :shock: :roll:

  5. JammieWearingFool

    Michelle Obama’s Thesis: Serious Case of Racial Pa…

    Is it any wonder they wanted to keep this dreck locked up until after the election?…

  6. martymar

    “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.”

    Liberals are the biggest racists! They just don’t tell you up front.

  7. Response to a Summary of Michelle Obama’s thesis « Wolf Pangloss

    […] Ace of Spades. Also on it, memeorandum, Captain’s Quarters, The Corner, Pat Dollard, Atlas Shrugs, Eunomia, Wonkette and JammieWearingFool […]

  8. Wolf Pangloss

    As I wrote here, The future Mrs. Obama seemed unwilling to allow her beliefs to follow the results of her research. Her research demonstrated that the majority of black graduates of Princeton did not believe there was a meaningful distinction between black and white culture in the US in 1985. Rather than admitting that this supported the antithesis to her thesis, she concluded by saying she was disappointed in her survey respondents.

    Can an intellectual habit or misperception be repaired by changing systems, by changing governments, or does it need to be repaired in the hearts and minds of those who believe in a bogeyman who does not exist?

  9. Yolanda Hamby

    I come from Cuba, a country that did not discriminate against blacks. I grew up accepting everyone, no matter the color of their skin. I lived through the early 60’s in Meridian, MS. I saw these crackers mouth off about blacks and it broke my heart. After all, you peel our skins, and we are all the same inside! But, all that said, I must tell you that I am very dissapointed in Mrs. Obama. How can she expect to be a first lady with such an unladylike mouth? She comes accross as a very angry woman. She is not an asset to her husband’s campaign and his ambitions to be president. He is likable, she is not. I wonder how much influence she has on him and his decisions?? SCARY!!!!!

  10. John Horton

    Thinking that Barack Obama was sincere about wanting to “turn the page” to a new generation of politics, I voted for Obama in the Virginia primary.

    Since that vote, I’ve become much more aware that Obama and his surrogates have criticized Hillary and Bill Clinton, unfairly in my judgement, for remarks blacks choose to view as racist - or simply wanted to label as racist so as to push certain voters toward Obama, Rep. Clyburn accused the Clintons of using “code words” in South Carolina - but others couldn’t detect the racism in the words because we’re not black. Hillary Clinton’s 3.am. phone call ad is, according to Obama surrogates, supposedly racists, If, as a white person, I missed the coded message then maybe no such message is there, and isn’t that the point of such criticism, I’m suppose to catch the coded message to whites?

    At the same time, Michelle Obama and Rev. Wright, two individuals who must be influential in Obama’s inner circle, have made remarks that many whites view as racist - but Obama “explains” them away, or simply ignores them. It seems Obama’s desire to “turn the page” is defined as: non-blacks keeping quiet in the face of racism on the part of Obama’s inner circle, while also feeling guilty for remarks made by Clinton surrogates, and America electing a black president. If that’s the way it is to be, I don’t think I’m interested in turning that page.

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