Far be it from me to advance the meme that Big Guy is just a hen-pecked husband and president. In all truth though, I didn’t build that meme, somebody else did that. (H/T Jody Kantor, Ed Klein, David Maraniss)
Butt I have to admit, there’s both smoke,
and fire with this one.
For one thing, Barry (as he was known back then) came from a long line of radical feminists; heck I think even his Grandpa was a feminist. Why else would he insist on calling Barry’s Mom “Stanley” anyway? And apparently “Stanley” practiced unsafe “feminism” long before it was even officially entered in the progressive lexicon. Liberated since birth by her left-leaning parents, Stanley led the charge for feminism’s lofty principles of sexual freedom. Seriously, how many other coeds in 1960 – long before the introduction of reproductive rights (i.e. free contraceptives and abortions) or even reliable contraceptives and legal abortions – were taking the risk of being punished with a baby by sleeping around? Even with their steady boyfriends, let alone with married black guys twice their age from an exotic foreign country? Yes, Barry comes by his feminist credentials legitimately.
All of which explains Barry’s immediate attraction to Michelle Lavaughn Robinson who also was a staunch feminist, as you’ll see below. Not that they didn’t share other things as well: she was black, he has half black, both were Harvard trained minority lawyers, both admired the same radical minority/feminist professors, both had ambition, drive (well, Lavaughn anyway) – I think you can see how that first kiss was inevitable.
And the rest is just historic.
And somehow a little icky.
Butt as I promised yesterday, today I examine Lavaughn’s essay for Harvard’s Black Law Student’s Association back when she was a student. You’ll see how Barry and Lavaughn were kindred spirits even before they met. Both of course were law students at Harvard, both were exposed to and enjoyed the teachings of progressive professors such as Martha Minow (whose dad, Newton, recruited both Michelle and Barry for the Sidley Austin firm based in Chicago), Charles Ogletree (owner of an estate on Martha’s Vineyard butt NOT the victim of “cops acting stupidly” fame [h/t: PD from MA] ) and Derrick (critical race theorist) Bell. Other esteemed Harvard Law professors at the time were either below their radar, or too committed to that outdated mode of teaching known as “the Socratic method” to warrant a mention in Lavaughn’s otherwise excellent article.
You can read the entire thing here:
Or allow me to summarize the 4 pages for you:
Old white guys who teach using the Socratic method suck. Because they aren’t diverse. And white guys are mean to their students – unlike the diverse faculty members who treat students with the respect they so richly deserve, especially the female and minority students. And they’re mean, just because they can be; they have that power over you - the white guys I mean, not the female and minority faculty members who are much more empathetic. And it’s just a sadistic thing they do for their amusement, not in order to toughen the students up to deal with real world bullies when they finally emerge from the academic bubble. And students shouldn’t have to put up with that kind of treatment, not in law school and certainly not out in the real world where they’ll have to constantly deal with peons of much smaller intellect than themselves.
In summary then: diverse professors are much better than old white guys who aren’t empathetic, pick on students and expect them to know the class materials. So Harvard should hire and tenure more minority female professors who won’t do that and therefor make going to school there more fun and less stressful for minority and female students.
Now, back to the allegations that Big Guy is henpecked; that’s just ridiculous. All you have to do to disabuse yourself of that notion is look at the people he surrounds himself with:
Just because they know what he’s going to say before the words come off TOTUS doesn’t mean he’s henpecked.
And who are you calling an old hen, anyway?
I’m not sure you want to go there.