Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Juan Williams Insults First Lady Michelle Obama

Fox's Juan Williams attacked First Lady Michelle Obama on Bill O'Reilley.

Hat tip: JJP

Juan Williams on Michelle Obama:
"[S]he's got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going. If she starts talking . . . her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts to coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O. to being something of an albatross."

I mean Juan, you know that New Yorker cover was meant to be a joke right?

Here's the video:


dnA from JJP breaks it down further:

And, after thinking about it some more, dnA explains why Williams truly is foul.

I've been rolling Juan Williams' statement about Michelle Obama around like a wad of gum, trying to figure out why it bothers me so much. The first thing is that Juan is a genuinely nice guy, with whom I've had the pleasure of talking a few times. But the second, and the much bigger thing, is that I realized that I've never heard --and I don't think I ever will hear -- a rapper call Michelle Obama a bitch. But you don't have to call a woman a bitch to treat her like one.

I've tried for a long time to reconcile my love of Hip-hop music with its unapologetic misogyny, or even the fact that so many friends I've known since knee-high flick around the word like spent cigarettes no matter how many times we argue about it. The bitches/sisters explanation is patently unsatisfying, it's basically a reinvention of the old madonna/whore dichotomy. I can't really come up with an explanation, other than that there are ugly sides to most of the things we love. But Williams is one of the most vocal critics of Hip-hop; of what right-leaning black pundits refer to as "street-culture." I see little that's different in what Williams is saying about Michelle from what you might hear from Young Jeezy. This isn't an isolated statement about something someone said last year, it fits into an established narrative of who black women are. Rather than being the hyper-sexualized Jezebel popular in rap music, she's portrayed as the masculine ball-buster, the kind of women ignorant men write "why I don't date black women" essays about, trying to convince themselves that there's something rational about hating the kind of woman who gave birth to you. Williams' statement makes me angry not because it's about Michelle, but because it's so manifestly not about her, but about black women in general. And maybe with some kind of messed up, terrible rationalization I can divorce myself from what happens in Hip-hop because I know Jeezy isn't talking about my mama. But when people talk about Michelle like this, they're talking about this universe of brilliant, accomplished black women who never seem to get their due. They're talking about the women I know; my mother, my aunts, my cousins. And it makes me furious.

My own personal opinion is that Williams needs a beatdown. A good, old fashioned, Junebug and Ray Ray visiting him, beatdown. How he feels he can so freely disrespect and LIE about Michelle Obama, comparing her to a MAN, no less, trying to strip away her humanity.

No thank you.

She's the First Lady, and Juan's '300 pieces of silver' behind better signify.


Brown Man said...

This is why our job as bloggers is to expand the narrative - to reduce the amount of influence the favored few have over public opinion.

Half the stuff I read from the people who are deemed to be "influential" columnists or opinion writers is garbage. I write what amounts to a column just about everyday, so I know how hard it is.

But I am not bound by any ideology other than common sense - in my universe I try to avoid pigeonholing people by party lines, recognizing good Republicans and castigating bullshit Democrats when I see fit.

These guys in the media have to suit up in a recognizable jersey everyday so their fans can know who they are and what they stand for without really thinking about it.

And I have an idea of how hard it is to be a Juan Williams, with the need to constantly keep some kind of controversial statement at the ready so that he gets some camera time, and some ink from his peers.

We have to continue to strive to expand the narrative - it is the thing that is tipping the balance between the places people used to go to get their news and opinions and the places they go now to get their news and opinions.

Every newspaper in the country is hurting because of this.

These days, Juan is willing to sell himself to the lowest bidder. I don't see anybody else fighting to get him.

Sending some mass emails to the producer of the show he's on, the way we did with D.L. Hugeley's show on CNN, is probably the way to go here- if you catch enough people at JJP in the right frame of mind, and convince them to spread the word to their networks, I think you could very easily make things a little hot for Mr. Williams lapse in judgment.

What else is a bully pulpit for?

Brian said...

I often agree with Juan...and supported his position on Cosby. But sometimes he runs off at the mouth a little too much.
I can't support him on this one.

Ironically, it was a few months ago that he was crying at the Convention... proud to see Michelle. Now he wants to cut her down like this? At least he could be nuanced...if he wants to start a conversation. It looks like he is trying to cut her down at the knees.

I hate the way he is doing FAUX's bidding on this.

Anonymous said...

Wow, way to completely ignore the point of Juan's comment and go off on an "Oh-no he didn't" tangent. What he said was true, whether you look at it as a comment about Michelle Obama, or many black women in general. Stop with the victimization thing. She is a walking/talking contradiction. She loves to complain about America and how it holds the black people down, yet she is an accomplished black women. She should be embracing America and it's ideals for what she has become instead of bashing it every chance she gets. That is what I'd like to see. By the way, I had better mention that I am a black women...wouldn't want to seem racist or anything!

Black Man said...

TO MizBlkRep

When has Michelle Obama complained about America? I only remember the one comment about finally being proud of America during the campaign.

Anonymous said...

Juan Williams is an ignoramous, negroe apologist who's only job is to say things about black people that white people are afraid to say.He has a right to do so just as I have the right to eat a booger in public.Just don't cry foul when people are disgusted by your actions.This lawn jockey has really crossed the line and we need to punish him for this.This social misfit had the overies to get defensive on the Tom Joiner morning show this morning when Cybil confronted him.And Tom and Jay defended this punk,talking about he was doing his job.I lost respect for those two clowns at that moment.I guess drug dealers and pimps have to do their jobs too.What we have is way to much looking the other way if someone I like do something wrong but jumping all over anyone that I don't like do the slightist infraction.You are known by the company you keep and the company you defend.If one of my buddies start molesting little kids,I'll kicked the spit out of him before anyone else does.And to think, if this toad had just fit in in high school or the jock hadn't taken his girlfriend he'd be George Curry or someone with some pills.

Anonymous said...

I love my country but I don't trust my government.Iam a former Marine and The Obamas woke up my dormant sense of feeling good about this country.I agree with everything she said about feeling proud of my country again.I laid out in cold wet ditches at night and hot air strips and steamy jungles for her to voice her discontent with America not always living up to what was advertised.If I pay for a fish sandwich and you give me a box of worms you better hope all I do is voice my displeasure with being ripped off.Juan need look no further than Oriely and Hannity and their ilk to hear bitching and moaning.They have made a living out of snout licking and belly aching.Mrs Obama earned everything she got and she knows that if she were a white man with her same hard work and determination she would have double what she has now.Just like old cooning ass Juan would be making millions more if he was a white cry baby instead of a black one.And to the rest of you self hating chimps that slave chips kicks in whenever someone says something about yo massa,black people have earned the right to voice displeasure with being jerked around.I want to know where this fairy land is that all we do is sat around and complain and get paid for it and take white folk jobs and are the first hired and last fired and collect unearned checks,don't pay taxes on anything,are treated like royalty by the police and banks and always be given more than the benifit of the doubt and my neighbors and coworkers would too.The nerve of us to want to be treated like Americans,who do we think we are.

Anonymous said...

Hey,is this the same Juan Williams that was diciplined by the Washington Post back in 1991 for alleged sexual harassment?Sounds like sombody is a bit of a toad.Conservative guys do seem to have problems with the ladies.Old Cosby was rumored to be playing doctor and administering medication to the honeys.It must suck to have money,fame and all and still be a turd with the ladies.Maybe the first lady reminds Old Juan the weenie of the sisters that turned him down,It's the stuff serial killers and rapist are made of.I smell a social misfit.Juan your slip is hanging.

Anonymous said...

To an extent, I actually cosign with MizBlkRep. While I don't think Michelle was a 'complainer', per se; Juan's comments do speak to an issue too many of us sweep under the rug.

One of Michelle's problems has always been her inability to ease her way out of the "Angry Black Chick" persona enough to satisfy the general population. From her, simply and cursory things like not smiling are quickly perceived as not being 'ladylike.' In a society still overwhelmingly patriachal, women who defy traditional gender roles are seen as a threat. When that woman just happens to be black and the FLOTUS, expect opposition to magnify. *As a side note: Don't be fooled by the media's obsession with her. If anything, I liken their adoration of Michelle to a pack of curious white kids fascinated with the one black girl's hair.*

To be sure, I like Michelle Obama. I especially love what she represents: a strong black woman who climbed the ladder of success but remained devoted to her family in the process. But my liking her doesn’t blind me to the reality that people expect their leaders to fit a certain non-threatening and socially graceful model in order to gain acceptance and validation. I'm not so sure too many folks see that. That's the Stokely Carmichael effect. As much as we may an aversion to a certain kind of truth, I see where Juan was going with this.

I think Juan's problem is that his long standing relationship with Fox Noise makes him come across as a shufflin' and jivin' lawn jockey. But I think his statements had an element of truth to them. An unfortunate truth...but truth nonetheless. I'm certainly not endorsing what he said. But at the same time, he did at least give what he thought was an honest assessment of what's going on at the ground level.

Anonymous said...

Andre has the right to say what he's said, but when are black people going to stop falling for every label insecure white people try to come up with when we don't live up to their stereo type? (angry black women)That's the problem created by buck dancing,cooning and shuffling need to grows.White folk think one size fits all.If Juan scratches where he does not itch and laughs when it's not funny,then all coloreds should do it.Then someone comes along who didn't get that memo and because he just behave as any human would,he is labled hostile or angry.That's not true liberation.If black people spent a fraction of their time caring about how other black people felt about them than they do how others do, we would be so much further up the road of progress.Corporate jigs have wet dreams that Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakan have out lived their usefulness,but as long as the police keep kicking black people's ass etc,these people are needed.The real deal is President Obama has really made Juan, Arm strong Steeles and the like out of date.And the right wing are like "It was you jigs job to gate keep and you let "that one " throuh".What good are you?Now these butt monkies are feeling obsolete so they are about to lose it tring to show ole Massa they are still some use."You need me boss,see I can still keep them in line and looking at themselves through yo eyes.If I have to dig up some shit that didn't work the first time.She,she, am angry,she don't like Amerrka,she upity.She should be happy she in this good ole country.Please don't get rid of this ole darkie,I need you to validate my worthless ass".Iam from Mississippi and I know a plantation game when I see it.No wonder these kids don't respect these these corporate hoes.

Anonymous said...


For one, was there a reason why I was referred to in 3rd person? Eh, never mind...not important. :)

But more to the heart of your comment: I agree wholeheartedly. I don't think black folks should have to table or - perhaps - outright compromise their blackness in order to achieve a certain level of mainstream validaton. But as I said, the reality on the ground may paint a different picture.

When Rev. Wright preached from black liberation theology, a lot of black folks tuned in. Though the media portrayed him as some anti-American extremist, he had a pretty nice "Amen Corner" from his congregation. Pres. Obama could have very well been a part of it himself. But the moment Wright's sermons went viral, accompanied with a negative spin, Obama got the hell away from it. For the purpose of electability, Barack had to veil his 'blackness.' Was it fair? Of course not. Was it necessary in order to be the POTUS? You damn right it was!

The general public took Mrs. Obama's strength, her no-nonsense approach, her occasionally forced smile, and her "first time in my adult life...I'm proud of my country..." line and formed what I consider a misnomer of Michelle as the "Angry Black Woman."

To date, I'm very suprised she did not wind up being a liability for Pres. Obama.