Obama's so black...

...he gave his wife dap before his speech. Incredible. I really wonder how many white viewers caught that. It's probably a generation thing. I bet a lot of younger folks got it.

UPDATE: Some grainy, but still lovely, video for those who missed it. It's so beautiful that Michelle initiated it. It shows a sort of confidence that I think this generation of black folks have come equipped with. It really was the perfect end to this primary.  Two caveats: 1.) It also shows a certain level of brother/sisterhood that's been achieved by blacks and whites of this generation. Somehow I think thirty years ago, people would have thought that was a signal for violent insurrection. Twenty years ago, they would have thought it was a gang sign. 2.) It is not true--as I was recently reminded--that such confidence is the province of the young. It's just that thirty years ago, if you were that comfortable in your own skin, as a black person, you were probably kept far away from the public stage.

Anyway, that fist-bump, that moment between those two--alone--tops all the speeches I saw last night. I think it says so much. Tell me if I'm out of line here, but there was something organically feminist about that gesture. The confidence of it reminded me so much of the sort of certainty I see in so many women who learned way before college that they would have to stand on their own. It really just erased Gerladine Ferraro for me. She ain't the future, ya'll. I am rambling here, and I feel like if I sat down, I could write a whole essay about that moment. Except that I kinda, already did :P

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UPDATE #2: Commenter Marc makes an interesting point, "Is that really "so black"? Howie Mandel does it on his show, for heaven's sake."

I'd agree, and that's basically the point. But I'd reject the strict division between "black" and "mainstream" Turn it another way: "Putz" is a Yiddish word. The fact that all sorts of people say it, doesn't make it "not Yiddish." Furthermore, the fact that it's Yiddish doesn't mean all sorts of people shouldn't say it. This the whole point: the pound Obama and his wife exchanged is black AND it's mainstream. And that's fine, in fact it's one of the more beautiful thing about being American. I love enchiladas--my love for them doesn't make them any less Mexican. Plenty of white people love Otis Redding, but Soul is still black music. And American music too. It's not one or the other. It's both at the same time.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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