Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Being uppity


It's hard to think of a first lady who more deserves our praise and adulation than Michelle Obama.

Hardly a child of privilege, her parents expected her to work hard and to do well, and she has succeeded in both personal and professional ways. In response to this kind of effort and accomplishment, radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh recently dismissed the first lady of the United States as "uppity."

We're sure that Limbaugh's followers won't appreciate Mrs. Obama's Ivy League education, the fact that she was an associate dean at the University of Chicago or that she was the founding executive director of a nonprofit organization that prepares youth for public service. Nor will they appreciate that Mrs. Obama's work on the issues of childhood obesity and nutrition is not different in kind from former first lady Laura Bush's work on literacy. It seems that it's simply acting like a first lady that makes her "uppity" in Limbaugh's eyes.

"Uppity" is a word that has fallen from general use for good reason. In common usage it often used to appear right before the "N" word, and almost never without referring to a person of color.

Limbaugh proclaims that even though he once told an African-American caller to "take that bone out of your nose and call me back," using these kinds of terms does not make him a racist.

At minimum, Limbaugh should be denounced for his lack of civility, but he feasts on being denounced. What he cannot stand and what he well deserves is to be ignored. Michelle Obama knows exactly what her place is—first lady—and she deserves more respect.




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