More Michelle Obama on The View

This clip also care of Petulant, natch.

Whoopi Goldberg: —to say, I'm really glad to see you, because, you know, I'm seeing more and more of you on television—I'm thrilled about it—on the news. 'Cause any time you see black folks on the news, particularly women, they have no teeth [laughter] and the teeth that they have, have gold around them, and they can't put a sentence together. And perhaps now we can—this is—you are helping to change a perception. I know it sounds funny and silly, but if you're a black woman, and you're tuning in, and every time you see someone who's supposed to represent black women—and women, not very, very fair-skinned women; I'm talking about dark black women—I just wanna say thanks.
It's an interesting thing Whoopi does here. She's ostensibly thanking Michelle Obama for providing an alternative archetype to the black women generally featured on the news, but, of course, that's not really what she's doing. Whoopi, one of the cleverest people in comedy, is not the kind of person who effectively thanks the wife of a presidential candidate for not being poor and not being uneducated and not being powerless. Seems to me what she's doing is using that frame to make a sly but pointed media critique.

After all, it's not like black women get together and have a vote on who gets to "represent them" on the news. Those women are chosen by the media for a specific purpose—because they fill existent media narratives about black women, and if there's anything we know about the media, it's that they're lazy and complacent. (And don't have a lot of black women—or black men, or women of any color—at the top of their ranks who might object to this stuff.)

But Michelle Obama presents them with the obligation to cover—and cover constantly—a black woman who is well-educated, wealthy, increasingly influential, and in other ways the antithesis of the archetypical black woman on the news invoked by Whoopi.

It's an oblique admonishment to the media to broaden their representations of black women—and an exhortation to the non-black audience of The View to note that, when she says Michelle Obama is "helping to change a perception," it's their perceptions that should be changing hint hint nudge nudge.

Whoopi's just casually planting some seeds, is all…

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