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Should the Media Stay Away From Michelle Obama's Heritage?

Should the Media Stay Away From Michelle Obama's Heritage?

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece on Michelle Obama's connection to slavery. Using old public records, fading photos, and recollections of older family members, the New York Times, along with genealogist Megan Smolenyak, uncovered details that fully connect the first lady to the history of slavery for the first time. While the piece was captivating, some worry that it was not appropriate.

The issue of race in America's past and present is undoubtedly a sensitive subject. Many Americans, including African-Americans, want to celebrate the Obamas' path to the White House, and the story about Michelle Obama's slave roots helps shed light on just how far our society has come. In addition, the fact that Michelle's great-great-great-grandfather was white might remind this diverse country that we share a common past. Yet other people feel that the independent piece on her heritage violates her privacy or focuses on her race when the Obamas have made it clear that they want to move past it.

The first lady has declined to comment on the article due to its personal nature. Now that Michelle Obama is first lady, is it fair for the public to take an interest in her genealogy, or was this piece in bad taste?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
kurniakasih kurniakasih 7 years
If she's ok with it with the media running it and investigating it, then it's cool.
sassy3lady sassy3lady 7 years
I don't even understand what the big deal is with tracing her roots. Most African-American people know that somewhere along the line some one in their family was a slave. The news is making it sounds like this is the most amazing discovery ever. Its really not!
Zivanod Zivanod 7 years
I am sure she, like most everyone else is proud of their heritage regardless of where they came from or other hardships or even priviledges. Yet what does this proove except what the article states, to "remind this diverse country that we share a common past."
sexylibrarian sexylibrarian 7 years
I thought the story was very fascinating! Maybe not relevant but certainly interesting!
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I think it could have been done differently. Maybe as someone else suggested like a segment on a news show. I do think they should have maybe talked with her about this before going to the mass media with it. Who knows - maybe she already knew this but didn't want it to be something people judged her by. Regardless, I do think it is interesting - just could have been handled differently.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
Laura Bush killed someone in a car accident when she was 17. there's her history.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I dont think its relevant at all.
amybdk amybdk 7 years
Who cares? I do! I think it's really quite fascinating, thankyouverymuch!
sillyone06 sillyone06 7 years
I think it's a matter of, honestly, who cares, and why her? No one did a segment of Laura Bush, or Cindy McCain. I understand that this is a very important step for the American people, but who cares? They did this because she is who she is. Now, if it was her mother who was a slave, and she, the daughter of a slave became the first lady, then that's impressive. But it's her great-great-great-great- grandmother who was a slave. It just seems so irrelevant. I actually read the article, and stopped to think... Why do I care? It's neat to know my family history, but really, do you people care if I said I was a DAR? If my great great great great grandfather was a foreign duke? I kinda rambled, but it just seems way too irrelevant to me.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I don't have a problem with a segment on 60minutes or Dateline or an hour on the History channel where it would be most appropriate but hearing about it on local and national news all day long is too much. They need to know where to draw the line so they don't appear to be tripping over each other to let us know.
sarahcateh sarahcateh 7 years
Yeah, I really think this over stepped some boundaries.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
I think it's highly relevant as it shows how far the country has come and has yet to go.
allthingsgrow allthingsgrow 7 years
I just think it's irrelevant.
Jmartens Jmartens 7 years
I think the story is fascinating and make me want to research my family background some more. Just because she doesn't want to comment doesn't mean she disapproves.
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