Thursday, June 6, 2013

Michelle Obama's Heckler Sinks to Racist "Dog whistling"

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First Lady Michelle Obama Responds to Heckler
I'm not so bothered by the fact that Gay rights activist, Helen Sturtz, heckled first Lady Michelle Obama at a private fundraiser. In fact, I still remember when singer Eartha Kitt interrupted the speech of  Ladybird Johnson, accusing her of sending young men to their deaths in the Vietnam War;  the First Lady burst into tears. Kitt's career plummeted after that, but I admired the woman's courage.

 However, what pisses me off with the 56 year old Sturtz, is the vocabulary she used to justify her actions.  As for the real problem, Anna Holmes nailed it in a Time Magazine column entitled "Michelle Obama and the Delusion of Hecklers:" 

 Anyone who was been paying attention would have recognized in Sturtz’s outburst a petulance and sense of entitlement that echoes some of screechiest, bigoted and most resentful critics of the President himself, who have spent the past 6 years questioning Mr. Obama’s – and, by extension, black Americans’ – legitimacy to lead, have an opinion, or even exist. (Remember Joe Wilson?) To make matters worse, Sturtz’s description of Mrs. Obama’s reaction – that she was “pretty aggressive,” that she “got into my face” – was breathtaking bit of projection and entitlement that also tiptoed dangerously close to the “angry black woman” stereotype that Mrs. Obama has been dogged by for years. The implication by the Sturtz, a self-described “old abrasive lesbian” was this: That despite being interrupted during her delivery of a particularly passionate appeal for the support of at-risk American children, it was Michelle who was the asshole.

Sturtz works for a group called GetEQUAL, which is campaigning to get President Obama to sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against Americans based on their sexual orientation  If  this group truly wants to be heard, it will have to use far better judgment in picking its battles then it did by trying to embarrass the multi-talented First Lady.