Now, how hard would it have been for Mrs. Obama to say something like, "This race isn't about race. Mrs. Clinton's the front-runner and my husband's the underdog. Everybody knows that. But I believe that as voters start paying more attention to the issues, my husband will be moving up in the polls among all Democrats"?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The polls are showing your husband is trailing Hillary by 46% to 37% in the African-American community. What's going on here?
MICHELLE OBAMA: First of all, I think that that's not going to hold. I'm completely confident: black America will wake up, and get [it]. But what we're dealing with in the black community is just the natural fear of possibility. You know, when I look at my life, the stuff that we're seeing in these polls has played out my whole life. You know, always been told by somebody that I'm not ready, that I can't do something, my scores weren't high enough. You know, there's always that doubt in the back of the minds of people of color. People who've been oppressed and haven't been given real opportunities. That you never really believe. That you believe that somehow, someone is better than you. You know, deep down inside, you doubt whether you can do it, because that's all you've been told, is "no, wait." That's all you hear, and you hear it from people who love you. Not because they don't care about you, but because they're afraid. They're afraid that something might happen.
BRZEZINSKI: It's interesting that you say that, excuse me. Because a stewardess yesterday, a 52-year old African-American, and I asked her if she was interested in Barack Obama, if she would vote for him. And she said, like this, she said: "I don't think so, because he probably can't win, because he's black."
OBAMA: That's right. That's the psyschology that's going on in our heads, in our souls, and I understand it. I know where it comes from, and I think that it's one of the horrible legacies of racism and discrimination and oppression.
But, maybe it really is all about race with Mrs. Obama and with Sen. Obama's spiritual adviser for the last two decades, the Rev. Jeremiah T. Wright. And it certainly was all about race with Obama himself when he wrote his autobiography in 1995, which he aptly subtitled A Story of Race and Inheritance because there's nothing in his memoir about anything else.
I hope he started to get over it when he was humiliatingly rejected by black voters in 2000 and did some soul searching for the year afterwards. I hope that he learned just to be himself (the preppie from paradise) rather than constantly obsessing over whether he was black enough as he did throughout his autobiography. But nobody has had the courage to ask him about it.