I want to give First Lady Michelle Obama a high five! During her interview with Gayle King on the CBS Morning Show, Mrs. Obama served a slam dunk when answering a question around a book written by Jodi Kantor, entitled “The Obamas.” A lot of media outlets, continued to play the statement about “being an angry black woman,” however the comment that said it all for me, was, “Who can write about how I feel,” “What third person can say how I feel?”
When I heard that, I could not help rewinding a couple of times and listening intently. Even though she was talking about the various stories in the book related to her and her feelings about being the First Lady, living in the White House etc., I claimed her comments for myself.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my life, I get sick and tired of people speaking on my behalf as if they know me. They may have spent time around me, or they may have had lunch or dinner with me, but I can think of only a few people, that I have truly shared how I feel or what I think in my personal life.
Kantor is not alone, she just got public notice because she wrote a book on a couple that some people will read and take it for the truth. As a matter of fact, they will read it and tell somebody else as if they were there themselves and now have first-hand information.
The scripture for me is such an amazing place to spend time. I cannot think of any situation in life that I have faced that is not addressed. Doesn’t mean I have not failed along the way, but the advice contained within is clear. Look at what Timothy says, 1 Timothy 5:13 ESV “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
In a recent appearance on one of the other morning shows, Jodi Kantor attempted to justify why she had the inside track on The Obama’s, claiming the book had been “fact checked!” Really, fact checked based on what? What you think you saw? Perhaps you did, but as Michelle Obama clearly says, “What third party can speak about how I feel?”
Because we are all human, I know it has happened to many of you, where you learn that someone has represented you, made decisions about what you would or would not do, all before involving you in the conversation. Then to make matters worse, begin to cite situations where, much like Ms. Kator selling the sensation of it all.
It was disrespectful to the Obamas, to speak conclusively about anything related to what either of them feel or think. And, it is disrespectful and hurtful when we take pieces of experiences and spin into what we then put out and about as fact.
My grandmother used to teach us to treat people as we want to be treated. I don’t think I was the only one that learned that, but why is it that there are so many examples around us that flies in the face of that basic principle.
She would also say, “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything.” I get it now, because what she was really saying is, if you don’t know, then don’t speculate; not when you are talking about someone’s life. Perhaps we can benefit from going back to some of those basic principles. Remember, it’s easy when we are spouting off, but how does it feel when the topic is you?
Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.
Tanya Wilson is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. To learn more about her visit http://www.360you.net.