[FoRK] Political race codespeak

Lisa Dusseault <ldusseault at commerce.net> on Wed Apr 23 13:29:27 PDT 2008

A foreign female friend reported to me that Michelle Obama was talking  
about John [Edwards? McCain?] and her husband in a speech, and said  
something like "They have a lot of things in common.  They both have  
beautiful wives."

My friend then said Michelle is not beautiful and asked why she said  
that because in her opinion it only drew attention to her lack of  
beauty.  I did not have a good answer although of course I immediately  
suspected my friend took the statement literally when it was meant  
differently.

Remember, I grew up in Canada and literally was not exposed to race  
politics, let alone US-specific politics.  Is this code for the  
substitution "Black is beautiful"[0] and she's saying "I'm black"?    
But John's wife is not...?  I have a feeling she's hinting at a world  
of meaning here, and that she's maybe even giving coded messages that  
will be decoded differently by different people.  Is that possible?   
What do you hear in the phrase?

I looked for a citation for this or to confirm the quote but could not  
find it.  I believe it was on TV within the last week.

Lisa

[0] My friend reports ordering coffee in Philadelphia and the barista  
said "Do you want your coffee with cream, or beautiful?"



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