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Thread: Black first family 'changes everything'

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Black first family 'changes everything'

    Black first family 'changes everything'


    By John Blake
    CNN
    (CNN) -- Jamaal Young was watching Barack Obama and his family greet an ecstatic crowd in Chicago, Illinois, on Election Night when he realized that something seemed wrong.

    Obama didn't shout at his wife, Michelle, to shut up. The first lady didn't roll her eyes and tell Obama to act like a man. No laugh track kicked in, no one danced, and no police sirens wailed in the background.

    Young had tuned in to celebrate the election of the nation's first African-American president. But he realized that he was witnessing another historic first. A black family was being featured as the first family, not the "problem family" or the "funny family."

    "They are not here to entertain us," says Young, a New York Press columnist. "Michelle Obama is not sitting around with her girlfriends saying, 'My man ain't no good.' You're not seeing this over -sexualized, crazy black family that, every time a Marvin Gaye song comes on, someone stands up and says, 'Oh girl, that's my jam.' "

    The nation didn't just get a glimpse of its new first family when Obama and his family waved to the crowds on Inauguration Day. The Obamas are offering America a new way to look at the black family, Young and other commentators say.

    America has often viewed the black family through the prism of its pathologies: single-family homes, absentee fathers, out of wedlock children, they say. Or they've turned to the black family for comic relief in television shows such as "Good Times" in the '70s or today's "House of Payne."

    But a black first family changes that script, some say. A global audience will now be fed images of a highly educated, loving and photogenic black family living in the White House for the next four years -- and it can't go off the air like "The Cosby Show."

    "The last time we had an image of a black family that was this positive it was "The Cosby Show," but this is the Real McCoy," says Jacqueline Moore Bowles, national president of Jack and Jill of America Inc., a predominately black organization for youths.


    A new vision of black intimacy

    The new first family could inspire some of their biggest changes within the black family itself, some say.*

    In 1965, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democratic senator from New York, warned the nation about the rise of fatherless black families. He concluded that many black families were caught in a "tangle of pathology." The pathology persists. The U.S. Census Bureau said that 69 percent of black women who gave birth in 2005 were unmarried (it was 31 percent for white mothers).

    The relationship between Obama and his wife may help untangle some of that pathology, some black commentators say.

    It could start with black intimacy. The American public is routinely exposed to sexually charged relationships between black men and women. "Street lit" books with titles such as "Thugs and the Women Who Love Them," and "A Project Chick" now crowd bookstores and public library shelves.

    Yet the new first couple offers America an example of a black, passionate, marital relationship, says Jennifer Brea, a writer for EbonyJet.com.

    "They are the most natural and accessible first couple this country has ever had," Brea says. "You see a politician give a peck on his wife's cheek after a speech and often it looks staged. When you look at them, you feel like that there's this chemistry and spark."

    Several black women actually sighed as they talked about how much Obama seems to touch his wife and exchange soulful glances with her in public. They said Obama will show young black men how to treat women -- and young black women how they should be treated.

    "We don't get to see black love," says Heidi Durrow, the prize-winning author of the forthcoming novel, "Low Sky Dreaming."


    "But every time you see them [the Obamas] on stage, it's been super," she says. "It's an amazing image to see these dynamic, smart, progressive people just openly affectionate. I'm all for it."

    Obama's apparent closeness to his wife may help untangle another pathology -- the preoccupation with skin color and "looking white," Bowles, president of Jack and Jill, says.

    Bowles says some powerful black men marry women who are white or fair-skinned. Obama's decision to marry a darker-skinned woman like Michelle Obama shows black women that black can indeed be beautiful.

    "Too often successful black men look for other things ... a white woman or someone who is light, bright and darn near white," Bowles says. "She [Obama] is a true sister, and she makes no bones about it."

    'They're not 'Bebe's Kids' '

    But what about those blacks who haven't been considered "true sisters" or "true brothers." A black first family changes that script as well, some say.

    Obama's family shows that there is not one way, but many ways for someone to claim membership in the black family, some say.

    Brea, the writer for EbonyJet.com, is the daughter of a white mother and a Haitian-American father. She says she felt pressure to claim one race growing up. She never quite felt like a full citizen.

    Obama's biracial background and his "exotic" upbringing relieves her of that pressure. Obama will help other blacks who come from multiracial backgrounds and immigrant communities to be comfortable in their own skin, she says.

    "It's changed everything," she says. "You can sort of be whatever you want in all of its complexity, and it's something to be proud of."

    The Obama's two daughters, Malia and Sasha, also offer America a new way to look at black kids, others say. Throughout Inauguration Day, the two girls stood before the cameras and waved, smiled and played to the cameras.

    Durrow, the author of "Low Sky Dreaming," says it's refreshing to see well-spoken black children on television who act nothing like "Bebe's kids," the unruly black kids from the ghetto immortalized by the late black comedian Robin Harris.

    "It's wonderful for people on the world stage to see young black kids who are so poised and vivacious," Durrow says. "They're not 'Bebe's Kids.' I see them and I get the sense that they're going to be OK."

    Though the new first family may seem like a novelty to some, for others they are familiar.

    Barbara McKinzie, international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, says she grew up in a small town in Oklahoma surrounded by black couples and an extended family of teachers and neighbors, who were knit together like the new first family.

    She didn't need to look at the Inauguration Day festivities to see a vibrant black family.

    "It's not new, but it appears new," she says. "The president and his wife and children are not a novelty in the African-American community.

    "It's the only family I've known in my life."

    All AboutBarack Obama • Bill Cosby • U.S. Presidential Inauguration


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    Black first family 'changes everything' - CNN.com
    *this is so true and where I see the most advantages of the this "glass ceiling" being broken; w/in the Black community itself. Why sell yourself short internally you know what I mean?! thats why as a woman i always look to Oprah and my mom when i'm feeling down on my luck and unsuccessful and short-changed b/c of my gender and other similar type things.

    They do seem so accessable; like if I ever get the chance to meet them I could shake their hands and exchange a real greeting. and their on-stage kisses have never seemed staged to me either; they're lucky to have found eachother b/c the true love is so apparant.

    I think she's beautiful too, but I dont think thats why they're together; obviously they're intellectual equals.

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    Gold Member Glitter's Avatar
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    There love for eachother is obvious and I do hope Barack is a role model to all young men, black, white, and whatever else.
    Life is what happens to you
    While you're busy making other plans ~ John Lennon

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    i think he is; especially for kids from broken homes. its sad how neither of his parents got to see what he's become. President of the USA, could you imagine?!!!! there's like only been 40 of them in our entire history

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    The article is a little ignorant and has pissed me off a bit...


    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    The article is a little ignorant and has pissed me off a bit...

    Why did it piss you off?
    "If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me." --RW Emerson

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glitter View Post
    There love for eachother is obvious and I do hope Barack is a role model to all young men, black, white, and whatever else.
    Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    The article is a little ignorant and has pissed me off a bit...
    Why'd it piss you off? In a lot of ways the article brings up valid points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Exactly.



    Why'd it piss you off? In a lot of ways the article brings up valid points.

    I agree. The Media/Hollywood does a good job of continuing negative stereotypes. We are seeing a family that is shattering any and all stereotypes.
    "If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me." --RW Emerson

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Exactly.



    Why'd it piss you off? In a lot of ways the article brings up valid points.
    I didn't look at the valid points. I looked at the excerpts in the article like ""Too often successful black men look for other things ... a white woman or someone who is light, bright and darn near white," Bowles says. "She [Obama] is a true sister, and she makes no bones about it."
    Statements and perceptions like this is just ignorant. You are saying this about a man who came from an interracial union. And what exactly is a 'true sister.' It pisses me off that someone published that ignorance. Her statement speaks volumes about how people still feel about interracial couples. It's sad that people can't just fall in love with someone who makes them happy.

    Don't get me wrong The Obama's are a beautiful couple and it is goo to see a lovely black family in the white house... But if you're going to write an article about braking through barriers and stereotypes, then why publish something that would stereotype other couples.


    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMay View Post
    I agree. The Media/Hollywood does a good job of continuing negative stereotypes.


    Morgan Freeman as President



    Morgan freeman as God



    Morgan Freeman as a police detective.


    I guess the rules don't apply.. if you're morgan freeman
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    ^I think you're more likely to see the black stereotypes on TV and in comedic movies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMay View Post
    I agree. The Media/Hollywood does a good job of continuing negative stereotypes. We are seeing a family that is shattering any and all stereotypes.
    You know if there weren't an audience for those stereotypical movies/shows then hollywood wouldn't make them anymore...


    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    well then it's the ppl in the article who are probably a bit ignorant to whatever degree; but thats true of the population as a whole and any topic. most ppl just know whats around them and whats been told to them; a lot of ppl aren't seekers of education/experience.

    but i see your point SS, CNN has been publishing a lot of dumb trite articles lately regarding this whole topic, but I personally liked some of the points brought up. Regardless, taboos and stereotypes and generalizations are being smashed to bits and will soon be a thing of the past - which isnt it about time for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    ^I think you're more likely to see the black stereotypes on TV and in comedic movies.
    Wasn't Dennis Haysbert POTUS on 24?

    Black stereotypes are all over.

    I'm not racist, but more classist. I don't care if you're black, white, latino, but when you act (are) like an ignorant, uneducated, unmotivated mother fucker, then I have issues.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    I didn't look at the valid points. I looked at the excerpts in the article like ""Too often successful black men look for other things ... a white woman or someone who is light, bright and darn near white," Bowles says. "She [Obama] is a true sister, and she makes no bones about it."
    Statements and perceptions like this is just ignorant. You are saying this about a man who came from an interracial union. And what exactly is a 'true sister.' It pisses me off that someone published that ignorance. Her statement speaks volumes about how people still feel about interracial couples. It's sad that people can't just fall in love with someone who makes them happy.

    Don't get me wrong The Obama's are a beautiful couple and it is goo to see a lovely black family in the white house... But if you're going to write an article about braking through barriers and stereotypes, then why publish something that would stereotype other couples.
    Unfortunately, that statement about successful black men is spot on. How many successful black athletes and entertainers rush off and marry white women after they get famous? Quite a few. You don't see the same trend in reverse where famous white athletes and entertainers rush off and marry black women when they get famous. And that's not a knock on interracial relationships, it's just the reality.

    Barack and Michelle are part of a rare breed of famous, powerful black couples that the media and the public can focus on. And I don't think the statement had anything to do with Obama being the product of an interracial relationship. He is still seen as a successful black male.

    And I've heard quite a few people, mainly black women, say that they love the fact that Michelle is a beautiful brown-skinned woman, who needs to get her hair permed like they do. So, I think it's more about the imagery than anything else. Because for a lot of black women who felt like they were always being left behind by famous black men, Barack and Michelle remind them that it's not always the case.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I think B and M should bring the Afro back in style. Big ol Jackson 5 sized Afro's
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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