The PJ Tatler

It's Called Obama Privilege

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In an interview with People magazine, Michelle Obama gets serious about “the impact of stereotypes” in the “wake” of the Brown and Garner incidents:

“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE. 

“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.” 

Word to the wise: The next time someone asks you to help them with an item on a shelf, they’re obviously racist. Michelle probably wanted to reply, “Can’t you see I’m the first lady?!” but instead checked her privilege. I’m sure she rewarded herself for that at Bergdorf’s later.

The president also chimed in:

“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” said the president, adding that, yes, it had happened to him.

What he didn’t mention is that the restaurants that offer valet parking are financially off-limits to most voting Americans. In fact, listening to this story makes you wonder if he didn’t add in the car keys bit to contrast his blackness with what readers are supposed to believe is an all-white economic bracket. Why do I suddenly feel this interview was written by the creative team behind Black-ish?

Want a really good laugh? Imagine Barack Obama walking into one of the many protests in Ferguson or New York City, grabbing a soap box and declaring, “I was asked to get someone coffee once at a black tie dinner. I said to them, ‘I can’t breathe!’ and they replied, ‘Why, is your bow tie too tight?'”

The other day I walked into the Hallmark store to buy some cards. As the cashier rung me up, she analyzed my coupon and informed me I’d have to buy a Christmas ornament if I wanted to use the coupon. “I don’t need an ornament,” I explained, “I’m Jewish.” She gave me a quizzical look, as if totally unable to comprehend the idea of a Jew shopping in Hallmark during the holidays. While I didn’t feel the need to make a racial incident out of it at the time, I now know my story is worth big bucks… perhaps it’s time to give People a call.