Collectivism and the presumption of guilt

Back in March of 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama told a charming and funny story about how she supposedly slipped out to a Target department store on an undercover shopping run. (The Obamas are both shameless phonies, so of course this bit of Princess-and-Pauper mingling with the Little People was actually a staged publicity stunt – there just happened to be press photographers standing by to snap pictures of the First Lady’s exercise in recession chic.) At one point, a member of the proletariat approached Her Radiant Majesty and dared to ask her a question, making the disguised aristocrat think her cover was blown. To Her Majesty’s relief, the peasant merely wanted the much taller Mrs. Obama’s help getting a box of detergent down from a high shelf.

“I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down… she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy,’” Mrs. O told TV host Dave Letterman, collecting a round of laughter from the audience for this heartwarming anecdote. “That was my interaction. I felt so good.”

Two years later, Mrs. Obama suddenly recovered deeply repressed memories that revealed the encounter with that diminutive peasant at Target was actually a horrifying example of America’s deep-seated racism. In a new interview with People magazine, the First Lady scoffed at the notion that living in the White House shields the First Couple from racial prejudice. (Presumably she would also scoff at the idea that her very presence in the executive mansion says something about how non-racist America is.) As evidence, she cited that very same day at the Target, but now it was all about an arrogant white woman assuming that the black lady – who was secretly the wife of America’s sovereign emperor in disguise! – was there to step and fetch for her. Contrary to what she told David Letterman, Mrs. Obama suddenly didn’t feel good about the interaction at all. She also seems to have forgotten about the disparity in height between herself and the other Target shopper:

“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off …read more    

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