November 13, 2013

Michelle Obama: Exhibit A for "mismatch theory"

From the NYT:
Michelle Obama urged high school students on Tuesday to increase the opportunities available to them by pursuing higher education as she kicked off an initiative that seeks to increase the number of low-income students graduating from college and signaled her plans to focus more on administration policy during the president’s second term. 
Opening up to high school sophomores gathered in an auditorium at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, Mrs. Obama spoke of her struggles as an underprivileged student in Chicago, taking a long bus ride across town to attend a better school and dreaming of the diploma from Princeton University that she eventually earned. ...
It was clear from her remarks that the initiative, which will take her to schools around the country, is a personal one. Answering students’ questions — along with Arne Duncan, the secretary of education — she referred to “kids like us” and recalled those who had discouraged her ambitions. 
“Some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high,” Mrs. Obama said. “They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton. I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.” 
She continued: “So it was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go. Instead it was going to be up to me to reach my goal. I would have to chart my own course.”

This is all very fine as advice, but not entirely accurate as autobiography.

The First Lady's admission to Princeton wasn't entirely her own doing. Besides the usual affirmative action, she was also a Princeton legacy. In fact, her two-year-older brother Craig Robinson was already the Big Man on Campus, both metaphorically (he's always been popular, although he appears to be wearing out his welcome as Oregon State basketball's head coach) and literally (he's 6'6"). While Michelle Robinson's application was under consideration in the January to March of 1981, sophomore Craig Robinson was helping Princeton to the Ivy League title. Her big brother was then Ivy League basketball player of the year in her first two years on campus, and led Princeton to the 3rd round of the NCAA tournament in 1983.

And I presume her application wasn't hurt either by her being close friends with one of Jesse Jackson's daughters.

This latest speech continues a 35-year-old pattern of Michelle Robinson Obama being peeved that other people noticed that she only got into Whitney Young H.S., Princeton, Harvard Law School, and Sidley Austin because of pull, racial and personal.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does this have to do with mismatch theory? Is there evidence that she struggled at Princeton/Harvard?

Steve Sailer said...

Is there evidence that she struggled at Princeton/Harvard?"

That's what the link at "35-year-old pattern" is for:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/michelle-obama-and-the-rage-of-a-privileged-class

Maxwell Power said...

Nowadays people with advantages strategically and pre-emptively try to alchemize it into a grievance. "You wouldn't know what it's like being born to ambitious brilliant millionaires--DON'CHOO JUDGE ME"

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Canada, and just went to college and professional school there. Almost all undergrad, and all grad schools there are public. There are no equivalent of American college sports there.

So, enlighten me. Michelle was obviously an AA admit, but how do you work into your Ivy college application that your sibling is a sports star, or that your BFF is a daughter of someone famous?



Canadians: as smart as they look said...

Michelle was obviously an AA admit, but how do you work into your Ivy college application that your sibling is a sports star, or that your BFF is a daughter of someone famous?

It was the same admissions dept. that had already approved Michelle Robinson's sibling two years earlier, buddy. Furthermore they're not known for eschewing basic research on their applicants' background (the tax return also helps). You have much to learn.

Steve Sailer said...

1. Elite American college applications specifically ask you to list all your relatives who have attended the university. The admissions office would have immediately noticed the name of the top basketball player on campus, who led them to the Ivy League championship while they were considering Michelle's application.

2. The applications ask for letters of recommendation. I've never heard whether Jesse Jackson wrote a letter of recommendation for, Michelle, his children's babysitter, but I'm the only one I know of who has ever asked that. At the time Michelle was applying to Princeton, Jackson was the consolidating his status as Martin Luther King's successor.

Power Child said...

"...urged high school students on Tuesday to increase the opportunities available to them by pursuing higher education..."

The mortgage lending bubble, at least, was warned about by fine writers such as yourself, Steve. Who is warning about the college lending bubble?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve, for the info.

I am glad I didn't have to run thru that stuff in Canada. When I first moved to the US, I was astonished on how much your entire life can depend on your admission to an elite college at age 18.

Yet, here I am, working in the U.S., making the same money as my Harvard-educated colleagues.

jody said...

secretary slam dunkin' gonna make it all 8 years i bet. that will tie him with richard riley for longest serving person in the position. both democrats of course. hey, gotta make sure common core goes through.

both secretaries have overseen a decline in national test scores during their time in office, while at the same time, an increase in their department's annual budget. the education department is kind of like the energy department. the longer it exists, the worse it's metrics become, and the further away it gets from accomplishing it's mission.

Anonymous said...

Can't she just go back to telling fat kids to lose weight?

There are only so many token diversity-outreach sinecures, and only so many ambitious marriageable pols looking to bolster their blackness, to go around.

These low-income kids can't all be Michelle Obamas. They can, however, get themselves and the public further into debt while absorbing leftist indoctrination and little else.

bjdubbs said...

The joke when I was in Canada is that there's a big computer in Guelph that pro-cesses all the applications. Grades go in one end (top 6 grades from what are essentially AP classes) and the admits come out the other end. It's a very simple systems. The real attrition starts freshman year in college.

It was actually a pretty easy system to game, but because most of the schools are equally prestigious, there was no point. But I've heard that it's all changed.

Anonymous said...

More like exhibit A for "sasquatch theory."

Anonymous said...

You too can learn to be good at math:

http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/11/matt-waite-how-i-faced-my-fears-and-learned-to-be-good-at-math/

Anonymous said...

Yet, here I am, working in the U.S., making the same money as my Harvard-educated colleagues.

So you're doing time in Teach For America too? Such camaraderie there.

eah said...

At the link, Mr Sailer says

"She is ... of above-average intelligence, ..."

I think he meant to say 'of above-average intelligence for a black woman'. Because if she were white, I don't believe too many people would see her as being "of above-average intelligence".

For me, one sign of intelligence is subtlety. And Michelle Obama has absolutely no subtlety.

vetr 1234 said...

In my humble opinion, every First Lady of the last 50 years(except Pat Nixon, of course) has had either a deeply unattractive personality or made one wonder why a rich enough dude to be president would marry such a formidable battle-axe? To me, contemplating the First Ladies of my lifetime is pretty much an exercise in analyzing Wodehousean mating disaster comedy (In real life, I noticed that the guys who made colonel or above at the various military installations where I served had much worse luck in wives than the ones like me who languished at lower ranks, who often had excellent wives...)

Anonymous said...

You mean she wasn't the same caliber of student as Mark Zuckerberg getting into Harvard or Jeff Bezos getting into Princeton on strict academic merit? I am shocked, shocked that gambling is going on at this establishment!!! Yeah, Thomas Sowell was writing about a future first lady whether he knew it or not.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

vetr 1234, you really need to ask around, contemplate, and write about that military wives topic. That it really interesting. Note that Jackie Kennedy did have a reasonably attractive personality, however. She had to. She was amazingly stupid.

As for Michelle, it is important to recognise that elite Democrats, especially those from minority groups (racial, ethnic, sexual) advocate that the great unwashed do what is good for them, not what is good for the poor shlubs who vote for them. You couldn't ask for better evidence that there is a college bubble that screws the middle class than the fact that Michelle Obama is advocating it. Run away! Run away!

Mountain Maven said...

Is there anything she's not pissed about?

Anonymous said...

Nowadays people with advantages strategically and pre-emptively try to alchemize it into a grievance. "You wouldn't know what it's like being born to ambitious brilliant millionaires--DON'CHOO JUDGE ME"

The unmitigated queen of which had to be the late Diana, Princess of Wales. During the years she was married to Prince Charles, it was impossible to pick up an English newspaper without seeing her glum mug on the front page, with a headline like, "My Life is Torture." She was good at it, though; much of the world bought it then, and still does. By contrast, I sincerely doubt that the First Lady has ever been successful getting one person to feel sorry for her. That's why she's angry all the time; she can't pull it off.

Chicago said...

She supposedly took a "long bus ride" to get to her high school, which makes it look like she had great fortitude and determination. Wikipedia reports the claim that the round trip took three hours. Yet she lived in the South Shore neighborhood, a very nice area, and the school is located on the near west side. It's really not all that far away; just check a map. Chicago has an extensive public transport system that can get someone almost anywhere in the city in less time than that. The claim appears exaggerated. We all spent plenty of time on public transport to get to high school; wasn't considered to be martyrdom.
She's described as having been an "underprivileged" student. Yet her family used to vacation in a rustic cabin in Michigan, hardly an underprivileged lifestyle.
She had to take a test for her high school and do well compared to other blacks. In Chicago that wouldn't have been hard to do as a very large proportion of them are of the ghetto variety. At the time many lived in various projects such as Henry Horner and Cabrini Green, not exactly headquarters for the talented tenth.
It's all lies, exaggeration and spin combined with a grotesque sense of entitlement. She's a stereotypical Chicago black female, a bug-eyed scowler with jutting big teeth.

Anonymous said...

Koko the gorilla has an IQ of between 70 and 95:

http://www.koko.org/world/

"Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered "normal.""

battleaxe said...

why a rich enough dude to be president would marry such a formidable battle-axe?

Politics doesn't pay well. Clinton and Obama were not rich. Their wives' salaries may have been important to their careers.

Steve Sailer said...

According to Google Maps, it's 12 miles from the Chicago's South Shore neighborhood to Whitney Young HS. That's probably one of the easiest 12 mile drives in Chicago (much of it on South Lake Shore Drive or expressways), but still ... 12 miles anywhere in Chicago is frequently a bear.

ysv_rao said...


In my humble opinion, every First Lady of the last 50 years(except Pat Nixon, of course) has had either a deeply unattractive personality or made one wonder why a rich enough dude to be president would marry such a formidable battle-axe? To me, contemplating the First Ladies of my lifetime is pretty much an exercise in analyzing Wodehousean mating disaster comedy "

Actually Laura Bush seemed quite pleasant and in general tended to mind her own business.Certainly she wasnt the relentless nag that Hildabeast was and Moochelle is.

David Frum noted that Laura Bush was the polar opposite of the very severe and stern matriach Barbara Bush.


(In real life, I noticed that the guys who made colonel or above at the various military installations where I served had much worse luck in wives than the ones like me who languished at lower ranks, who often had excellent wives...)"

Im sure David Petraeus concurs..

ysv_rao said...


Princeton AA admission is bad enough.
What is worse is getting high paying pseudo jobs via cronyism and pretending that its all very important work
Michelle was the Diversity Coordinator at the University of Chicago hospital pulling in upwards of 200k$ per year all because her husband was Senator

A stressful,vital and intense position whose daily rigors equal that of a heart surgeon's, that was so crucial to the day to day functions that upon her leaving the post to join her husband at the White House, it wasnt refilled


Look I feel bad for black women in some ways. God has not blessed them in the looks department.
So I dont feel the need to rub salt in their wounds by reminding them of it
But do we HAVE to acknowledge under threat of torture and ostracism that Michelle Obama is most gorgeous,beautiful ,graceful creature in existence? And therefore by extension all black women are to a lesser extent as the hyper ventilating media portrays?
I know unattractive women can get deluded enough to believe they are pretty but not this much as surely
they may be stupid but not blind

Michelle is probably as resentful about her AA compliments on her looks as her AA Princeton admission and UChicago job.

Look Michelle has a pleasant smile(when she does smile)..cant one leave it at that?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of peeves, I notice, Steve, that you misuse the adverb "only," which should appear before what it modifies. Ms. Obama did not only get into those schools, she graduated as well.

(However, she may have gotten in only because of preferences!!)

Jerry said...

Too bad some brave student didn't ask her why she was lying. If there was any kind of open Q&A, that would have been an opening... One can say a lot of things in thirty seconds if one is prepared for it. Guess everyone is brainwashed or a coward.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan and Meagan Good are just as unattractive as can be.

Anonymous said...

The more privileged women are, the more desperately they chase after the mantle of victimhood.
In recent months both Madonna and J K Rowling have moaned about the sexist treatment they received on the way to the top.
The prime example of this was Princess Diana

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan and Meagan Good are just as unattractive as can be."

Just sayin', why are they never ever ever ever seen without their wigs?

pat said...

Michelle Obama at 5'11" is 2.8 SDs above the mean for women. That is well above the 99percentile.

If her brother was this big basketball star, maybe the recruitment office justified her preference as a kind of athletic scholarship? She is just about the same height among women as he is among men. Maybe they thought - "If she didn't work out as a scholar she might still make a good power forward."

Albertosaurus

Reg C├Žsar said...

Education is not the only sphere in which America's First Beard is mismatched.

In that sense she's not the Black Jackie-- she's the Schwarze Braun.

Anonymous said...

Black women's hair can grow to waist length, there are numerous websites discussing long-hair care for black women out there. Not all of those ladies are wearing wigs.

But I can raise you Angela Bassett and Naomie Harris, they have plenty of short-hair pictures available.


Anonymous said...

In recent months both Madonna and J K Rowling have moaned about the sexist treatment they received on the way to the top.

I would expect J.K. Rowling to be more concerned about religious harassment from the Christian Right than sexist treatment from publishers.

the 99% said...

Kerry Washington, like the dollar bill guy? I keep hearing the name but they never explain who or what she is/does. With that kind of all-American name she ought to have a cable show. If only whatever it is, that she does, were being publicized by our media

vetr 1234 said...

For the record, I live in a part of the country with a lot of Ethiopian immigrants, and anyone who lives around here who doesn't suffer from testosterone deficiency or read too much Rudyard Kipling or Oscar Wilde knows that African women frequently have attractive features and very feminine hair. Same thing with African-American women, women are women wherever you go. It's almost like a biological law or something.

Anonymous said...

Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan, Meagan Good, Angela Bassett and Naomi Harris all look biracial.

Like REAL (brown-skinned) biracial women with real dark Black dads from Africa. As in exactly 50% African/50% European.

Most Americans don't know what actual sub-Saharan Black African women look like and thanks to the "one-drop rule" there is ten times more confusion.

Biracial women aren't Quadroons/Octoroons (75% to 87% white).

Google pictures of Biracial women with Black African fathers (like literally dark brown nearing coal black) and white Euro mothers.

While they are born high yellow, they grow up darker thanks to the effects of the sun.

Most of those adult daughters range between dark yellow and medium brown in skin tone (they change like chameleon due to daily sun exposure and vary between seasons, sometimes being lighter, other times being darker).

They also have medium length/shoulder length curly hair.

Anonymous said...

Another example would be Ethiopian model Sara Nuru. She has Ethiopian parents and Ethiopians are quite mixed with Arab.

Sara Nuru has Arab facial/body features, long curly hair and brown skin.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I live in a part of the country with a lot of Ethiopian immigrants, and anyone who lives around here who doesn't suffer from testosterone deficiency or read too much Rudyard Kipling or Oscar Wilde knows that African women frequently have attractive features and very feminine hair. Same thing with African-American women, women are women wherever you go. It's almost like a biological law or something.

Most Ethiopian women are mixed with Arab, e.g. Ethiopian models Liya Kebede and Sara Nuru. They are part of the Horn of (East) Africa.