Storytelling has the type of power that can last throughout the ages.
Like Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming”.
Yeah, yeah, I’m late to the party. Whatever. You don’t know my life!
Every black woman ought to read this book. It’s not really a secret that white people populate the majority of the 1% privileged class. Meanwhile, some of the blue collar and working class try to squeeze under that 1% umbrella doing whatever they can to separate themselves from the ethnic “stain” of diversity—sadly, this also includes some ethnic people! Even in the coastal regions, I’ve come to learn that while most races are proud of their culture, it appears the more European they look coupled with a pretentious mindset allows for better access to a type of privilege that even native-born African Americans struggle to achieve.
The reason why Michelle Obama’s book is so good is because she’s telling a story about how a black girl from the South Side of Chicago, a.k.a., “the hood” somehow managed to keep her head in the school books in such an economically challenged environment. Her story goes on to talk about how she was able to stay focused in what also had to be a socially distracting environment where educational resources are laughable compared to the elite privilege. Still, she earned two Ivy League degrees and talks about the choices that were set before her, which ones she chose, and why. From fearlessly facing the chastisement of her Aunt Robbie for going rouge and advancing ahead of her methodically-paced piano lessons as a little girl to committing to an college education before a romantic relationship—something I didn’t even do in my twenties (the last part. I can’t play the piano)—Michelle Obama lays out the blueprint of streamlined success it seems.
Michelle’s steadfastness in completing her goals: go to school, get good grades, go to college, and become a lawyer is what undoubtedly led her toward making the smaller choices in between. This is also thanks to the guidance of strong parental figures.
One of Them, One of Us, or Just One Black Lady?
“Becoming” is about how this black woman’s choices led her to be serendipitously presented to her future husband and how his own passions and desires for equal rights led them both into a life of politics where the population is primarily of the white elite. With that comes a social integration of learning how another class conducts themselves and most shockingly, how they think about your social class, i.e. you—but not you really because you’re one of the decent ones (wink-wink).
Becoming Ambassadors of Blackness
After all, each black person, whether we like it or not, acts as an African American ambassador to most all-white communities less they lump their assumptions of blackness on what is fed to them through the media which in turn often financially rewards black people to “act black” which is then broadcasted to a population who interprets this as acceptable behavior because, after all, it’s on T.V. and if those celebrities can act ratchet and become millionaires, why can’t they? Robert Townsend’s 1987 movie Hollywood Shuffle still rings true today.
Hollywood Shuffle Clip: Black Acting School
Instead of movies, it’s reality TV. I’m not hating. Just saying. Truth be told, if I was offered a million-dollar reality TV contract, I’d probably say yes! Everyone wants a better quality of life. Hollywood i.e. the elite knows this, if nothing else about the underprivileged, and that’s the carrot dangled before the remaining percent.
Establishing a Goal and Sticking to It
Michelle is telling us that there are a myriad of possibilities to a better quality of life as long as you set goals for yourself and commit to achieving them. She’s also telling us that it won’t come without its challenges and insults either. While as a race, African Americans have certainly “melted” into the American pot, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama has seemingly found a way to remain true to herself as a black woman, her culture, and community while succeeding in the world of the elite privileged.
Becoming Something Great While Being Black
Being a black woman in America navigating through the social epithets and jeers of an elite-ruling society just happens to be the underlying narrative of this book. That’s a common occurrence for black women in this country. So to talk about other things with that being the baseline of a story is what makes this book so extraordinary, because of what was achieved.
Michelle is talking about how her life as a kid wasn’t much different from any other black little girl in Chicago or anywhere else in the world. Albeit, while everyone may not happen to be running in the same circle as Jesse Jackson’s family, it’s almost guaranteed that if we continue to relentlessly pursue our goals, at some point in our lives, we will brush elbows with some sort of greatness. If we’re lucky and humbled enough, perhaps become the greatness that influences others.
How Did Michelle Obama Do It?
With America’s foundation embedded in slavery, racism, and bigotry, one has to wonder how did a black girl from the South Side of Chicago end up being our First Lady in a country where blacks weren’t even considered human beings—in a country where blacks were once not allowed to read—in a country where blacks weren’t even allowed sit, eat, or sleep in the same establishment as white society.
Racism and bigotry is a psychological mindset that has been passed down throughout generations like the alphabet and mannerisms. This book shows how a black woman graciously navigates her way through such racist society circles to become the First Black Lady of the United States of America.
The First Black Family in the Whitest of Houses
We will never know, only speculate exactly how challenging it was for the entire Obama family to govern these United States as black people. In this book, Michelle doesn’t point any fingers and make accusations. The memoir doesn’t appear to boldly defend her husband’s office as president or justify her position as the First Black Lady. This book is so matter-of-factually written that no matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, or somewhere in between, you ought to find this written work downright charming.
It’s worth repeating again, every black woman needs to read this book. It’s a story that will encourage you and inspire you. It will fuel you to push forward in a world that even today might somehow make you feel like you aren’t enough and that you don’t matter. It’s a story with such historical significance that it will surely be passed down to generations. “Becoming” is really a book for every woman, but for black women especially!