For my final thought on the faith we’re putting into the Obama example, I’d like to discuss the children (cue Marvin Gaye’s “Save the Children”). This one was inspired by Juleyka Lantigua’s essay “Let’s Raise More Healthy and Happy Black Girls, like the Obama Daughters” in The Progressive.
Using the wholesome and well-nurtured models of Sasha and Malia, Lantigua pleads the case for improving the lives of black children who are poor, come from broken homes, and are over weight. Her solution for such problems—“providing a stable and nurturing home”—is an obvious one. Though what black families may achieve—“then we may relish seeing more adorable kids like Malia and Sasha Obama”—is a bit overstated. Like you’ll create a master race of clean black children who’ll all exemplify the supreme examples. Now don’t get me wrong. I totally understand advocating on behalf of African-American child locked in the cycle of poverty and lack of stability. And Lantigua does acknowledge that many black children don’t have the resources of the first family. But why should folks get stuck on Malia and Sasha as the ones to be like. Is there only one way to look or be a black Beaver kid? What? Kids who are poor and from single parent or foster homes can’t be adorable, well-mannered, and in shape?
In the end, I know——as a journalist myself—-stories have to be written and timely subjects have to make them relevant. Only, looking to the Obama phenomenon as the cure for what ails Black America, just keeps folks in the pathological cycle of wishful thinking that only yields, well, no damn results.