Aren’t First Ladies supposed to speak up on important matters impacting our world? The problem with critiquing Michelle Obama’s tweet for the Nigerian schoolgirls.
The criticism against Mrs. Michelle Obama for her hashtag activism in support of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls shows just how far in the wrong direction our political and social antics have gone over recent years.
Complaining about the First Lady doing exactly what First Ladies are supposed to do – bring attention to issues in ways that the President cannot – is just foolish and reaching for straws when it comes to railing against the Obamas.
Comments that hashtag activism through social media isn’t doing anything – well – isn’t really saying anything…that is, if you’re looking to say anything that’s factual, constructive, or productive.
We know that social media activism brought to light the heinous murder of Trayvon Martin when the authorities in Florida initially tried to sweep the incident under the rug in February 2012. We know that social media activism brought to light the disgust Americans have across the board for Donald Sterling’s racism, leading to a protest by players in the NBA and a lifelong ban for Sterling from the League. We have even seen the impact of social media on politics – from making unknown candidates into election night victors since 2008 to creating the Tea Party Movement and social media celebrities in politics.
So, if social media is that powerful, what’s wrong with the First Lady of the United States using that tool to help free over 200 scared teenage girls in a nation tortured by a terrorist organization?
I’d hate to say that race plays a role in this incident – from the Blackness of the Obamas to the Africans that were kidnapped in the middle of the night. I would hate to believe that the cantankerous nature of our politics today blinds some to the good that the First Lady and others can bring when they highlight a noteworthy situation through social media – despite what Will Cain and other far right-wing pundits purport…of course, through media. And I would hate to think that the awareness that has grown as a result of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag is only seen as a marketing ploy or a cheap political campaign ruse by a significant portion of our voting population.
But yet, here we are.
If the kidnapping of young Black girls from a school by Islamic extremists does not stoke the civility of all Americans – including the right-wing conservative base that stands against Islamic terrorists – then what would? Perhaps changing some characteristics about the young girls involved? Perhaps changing the demographics of where they live? Or perhaps simply changing the political and moral ethics we espouse collectively as a nation today?
Lenny McAllister is a political analyst and commentator featured on various local, national and international outlets including Al Jazeera America, CNN, the American Urban Radio Network, and Sun News Network. The Pittsburgh-based pundit hosts NightTalk: Get to the Point on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel on Friday nights. He is also a host at Newsradio 1020 KDKA in Pittsburgh. You can follow the former WVON The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM host on Twitter and Facebook.