Michelle Obama on Diversity, Comfort Zones, and America

Mar 26, 2008 6:27pm

In a January speech at the University of South Carolina, First Lady aspirant Michelle Obama made remarks making the rounds on the internet today.

Talking about her experience at Princeton where she hung with a largely African-American crowd, she said, "We don’t like being pushed outside of our comfort zones. You know it right here on this campus. You know people sitting at different tables- you all living in different dorms. I was there. You’re not talking to each other, taking advantage that you’re in this diverse community. Because sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America. So the challenge for us is are we ready for change?"

I’m sure we all know what she’s talking about when she reflects on the comfort many of us feel with those of our specific cultural or ethnic groups.

But her comments are under fire by many conservative commentators because of her construct that seems to imply that feeling justified in one’s own ignorance in somehow quintessentially "America."

The Obama campaign says that’s a mis-interpretation of her comments, that it was the proclivity for "comfort zones" that she thought was so "America."

(As opposed to the ethnic and cultural open minds in Europe, Asia and Africa, I suppose?)

You can watch a poor-quality (and scathingly titled) recording of her remarks HERE

- jpt

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus