[FoRK] Political race codespeak

Gordon Mohr <gojomofork at xavvy.com> on Wed Apr 23 15:39:11 PDT 2008

I don't think there's any racial/coded dimension to Michelle Obama's 

It's just a wink-wink joke -- "see how I managed to compliment myself in 
a roundabout way?" -- ironic immodesty.

Of course, standards of 'beautiful' vary. To this beholder, Michelle 
Obama is well above average in physical attractiveness -- so there's no 
dissonance when she's labeled "beautiful", by herself or others.

I kind of wonder where your friend is from, that Michelle doesn't rate!

- Gordon

Lisa Dusseault wrote:
> 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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