Having a black president in the White House may not have brought about the kind of change for African Americans that many anticipated -- just yet. But having a black family in the White House "changes the bar" for every child, regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender, first lady Michelle Obama believes.
In an interview with Parade Magazine, FLOTUS expressed her views on whether having an African-American family in the White House has moved the needle, noting that her husband's presidency "expands the scope of opportunity" for children because that's where change happens. "Children born in the last eight years will only know an African-American man being president of the United States," she said.
The first lady also elaborated on her recent description of herself as “a single mother,” touting the president's involvement as a father to their now-teenage daughters Sasha and Malia. "When you have a husband or a partner who’s either traveling for work or has huge responsibility … and I give my husband credit –- he knows who their friends are, he knows what their schedule is, but he’s not making the calls to the dance studio to figure out what classes they’re taking next year…" she said, acknowledging the pressure that comes with always making the decisions about her kids. "I think it’s important for both parents to shoulder that [responsibility]. I tell my kids, 'I am thinking about you every other minute of my day.'”
The Obama's family structure served as a case study for researchers Cassandra Chaney and Colita Nichols Fairfax earlier this year, who looked at whether black marital role models could help change the low marriage rates among African Americans in the U.S.
"In spite of the many negative and conflict-ridden black male–female relationships that permeate the media ... the Obamas are the strongest and most visible example of black love and happy marriage in the USA," the authors wrote in their study.
"The Obamas picked up where the Huxtables left off, except this is no act," one study participant said.
But unlike Cliff Huxtable, Michelle Obama says she isn't as stringent when it comes to her daughter Malia's impending plans for college. "I am really trying to tone that way down. Because kids are under unreasonable pressure, and it can destroy a high school experience," she told Parade.
Check out more of Obama's interview with Parade magazine in the Sunday, August 18 issue.