Evolution of Blog Dancing





With that said, everything I struggle with in writing about the Obama presidency and race is in this video. It's often said that the Obama family's occupation of the White House is only of "symbolic" importance. I don't believe that's true, but even if I did, I think symbols are really important. An unbroken 200-year plus run of white men in the White House must, necessarily, convey that only people meeting such a criteria need apply for the position. 


It's easy to wax cynical about black parents in 2008 saying, between tears, that "Now I can honestly tell my child that they can be anything." Except that it's sort of true. No progressive, pre-Barack Obama, would have said that only having white presidents was irrelevant to American history. I don't know how you can hold the inverse opinion now.

That kind of symbolism comes through in this video with Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon. All I can say is that these are sort of moments that, as a black kid in the 80s and 90s, I could not have fathomed. And as sure as the white near-monopoly on the television screen once mattered, this matters. You can't just say, "Yeah but what about...." It all matters.


Presented by

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.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In