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.Continue Reading
"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."
Judge a person by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin. “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud to be an American”. Michelle’s thesis is truly an eye opener. I and many other Americans have had a ‘gut feel’ about Barack & Michelle Obama, and this thesis gives a look into her thinking, attitudes and character. Watching them now, with Barack out on the golf course, the family vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard and Michelle in Spain with 40 of her closest friends and arguably hundreds in her entourage, what do they think and feel now about their ‘blackness’ or in the case of Barack, his multi-racial background? They do not appear to be as concerned for the black, white, or brown poor, or any of the millions of jobless, homeless, struggling small business owners, black, white, yellow, brown, or grey (seniors). They’re too busy ‘experiencing’ the power, control, and privilege afforded them by Barack being elected on a flimsy slogan of “Hope and Change”. America is struggling to keep it’s collective head above water, folks, so how’s that ‘Hopey, Changey thang’ working for you now? My hope and prayer (yes, I have a Savior, and it’s not Barack), is that America will still be able to redeem the principles by and for which this country was founded on, historical revisionists be damned. And let’s get past the whole slavery issue; I’m part Native American Indian, and the atrocities upon that race are still evident – have you seen a typical Native American Indian reservation lately? Talk about slum lords. Alcoholism, domestic violence…sad but true. Black Americans are not the only ‘victims’ in this world – it’s a fallen world, and evil does exist. Let’s get past the ‘victimization’ and work for the common good of America, and it starts with me. Take care and God Bless.
Comment by Bee — August 28, 2010 @ 12:52 pm | Reply