What we learned from the inauguration: president chewed gum, first lady rolled her eyes

I should have known that some rogue reporter/news outlet would want to focus on bullshit like this. Apparently, the Christian Post decided to write an entire story about First Michelle Obama allegedly rolling her eyes at House Speaker John Boehner.

OMG–black women don’t have the class and intellectual capacity to know when to act like a lady!

Michelle Obama gave an eye roll at the inaugural lunch on Monday as John Boehner was speaking to her husband next to her. The First Lady was caught on film sandwiched between President Obama and Speaker Boehner at a lunch table, and as the Speaker is speaking she rolls her eyes and shakes her head at something he says.

It is not sure what Boehner said at the table but it did appear that Michelle was not that impressed with the joke or comment that he had given.

The video footage shows the House Speaker talking enthusiastically to President Obama and as he does so he taps Michelle on the shoulder, but she seems to just glance sideways at the gesture rather than turning to give her full attention. He continues talking and after a few more words Michelle seems to gently shake her head and roll her eyes.

Here’s a video from ABC News of the segment on the first lady’s alleged eye roll and Twitter’s “obsession” over President Obama chewing gum.

The discussion on the first lady starts around 50 seconds in the video.


Clearly, from the video, it appeared there was some joke between the speaker and the president. Boehner must have said something that wasn’t funny, hence Mrs. Obama’s less than enthused reaction. It wasn’t an eye roll; it was more of a dismissive response to something Boehner had said.

The First Lady basically shook her head and clearly had an expression that she was thinking something along the lines of, “When men get together…” At least the president thought it was funny, though.

But, I can’t be shocked that the Christian Post and other outlets would pick up on this story. I mean, I guess I can see how it would seem entertaining and light-hearted after such a serious, historic occasion of inaugurating the country’s first black president.

However, since 2008, we’ve seen the consistent, systematic destruction of Michelle Obama’s character performed by the mainstream media, the president’s detractors and the white male conservative media machine.

Mrs. Obama’s personhood has been dissected, appropriated and denigrated, from painting her as a radical Afro-wearing black woman in camouflage, from one U.S. congressman saying she has a “large posterior,” from the likes of Rush Limbaugh calling the first lady “fat,” to a Spanish magazine depicting the first lady as a half-naked slave woman.

I know some of you will think I’m reading way too much into this and that I’m trying to make race part of something that has nothing to do with race. I expect that kind of backlash from the public at large, who has a vested interest in making sure harmful stereotypes of people of color, and black women in particular, remain unchecked. I mean, there’s gotta be something whiteness can point to as the total opposite of its qualities, thus not worthy of respect and validity.

But, I can’t help but wonder if the focus on her non-existent eye roll goes hand-in-hand with the goal by some to relentlessly frame Mrs. Obama as a ghetto black woman who can’t even conduct herself with enough to class to act appropriately during one of the most notable events of the Obama presidency. The non-existent eye roll presented yet another opportunity for the media and whiteness at large to peddle their latent belief that Michelle Obama is the prototypical angry black woman.