Watch out for stereotypes, but if this statement were made by a white mother with the same reservations but in reverse, she would be branded as a racist.
New York’s Daily News works hard to dispel that notion in an exclusive on a new biography of First Lady Michelle Obama, which reveals that her mother was not terribly keen on the idea of her marrying a man of mixed race.
In researching the book, author Peter Slevin, a Washington Post columnist, unearthed an interview that Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, gave in 2004 to WTTW‘s “Chicago Tonight.” The interview, by a local station, came at the point where Barack Obama was campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Hence, it drew little attention — until now.
In it, Robinson confesses to have been “a little bit” uneasy about her future son-in-law being the product of a white mom and black dad. “That didn’t concern me as much,” she goes on to concede, “as had he been completely white,” adding:
I guess that I worry about races mixing because of the difficulty — not for, so much for prejudice or anything. It’s just very hard.
Slevin’s book, the Daily News notes at the end of the article, emphasizes that Robinson’s concerns didn’t lead her to oppose the union: “To the contrary, writes Slevin, … ‘Marian, no pushover, was favorably impressed with Barack.’”
In retrospect, one might say that Marian Robinson’s fears were unfounded. Barack Obama has turned out to be as slavishly devoted to to his black heritage as he is dismissive of his white.