MUHAMMAD: Three Generations, Four Beautiful Women Tour China
3/26/2014, 3 p.m.
I have often joked that if I was in President Barack Obama’s shoes, I would join the National Rifle Association. Not to send a macho message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, no, but to state my intentions to all the future wannabe suitors, about the lengths to which I might consider in order to protect the honor of his two coming-of-age daughters, 15-year-old Malia and 12-year-old Sasha.
During this year’s spring break season, the girls and their mother – Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States – and their mother’s mother, Mrs. Marian Shields Robinson, took a trip to China for discussions with Chinese leaders about education.
The visit is historic because it’s the first independent trip by a U.S. president’s wife to China. Mrs. Obama has won compliments for her elegant clothing and her interactions with ordinary people in a country where it is rare to see leaders’ spouses or children in public.
“I have had a wonderful first few days here in Beijing,” Mrs. Obama said at a reception hosted by former Sen. Max Baucus, now U.S. Ambassador to China. “And, as the ambassador said, one of the reasons I have come to China is to learn more about education around the world.
“Education is an important focus for me. It’s personal, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education.” Mrs. Obama attended Princeton University, where her first roommate’s mother would not permit her daughter to share a college dormitory room with a Black girl. I wonder what became of that Princeton student?
Michelle Robinson then went on to Harvard Law school, where Professor Charles Ogletree – who taught both Barack and Michelle in his classes, told me in an interview that he thought then, that the first lady was the more formidable student of the two.
“And my parents were not educated themselves,” Mrs. Obama continued, “but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation. So the president and I have made education a key focus of our work over the coming years because we want to make sure that as many young people in the United States and around the world, quite frankly, have access to education.”
The brother to whom she referred is older brother Craig Robinson, head basketball coach at Oregon State University, and former head coach at Brown University. He also attended Princeton, and then earned an MBA from the University of Chicago. What a return on the investment made by parents Fraser and Marian Robinson in both of those children.
I am very, very happy that Mrs. Robinson made the decision to move into the White House with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. She obviously has had much success in rearing her own children. Now, she is sharing her know-how and giving her daughter the time and freedom to be the great first lady she has been, without having to worry that some “nanny” might not be giving her daughters everything they need, or maybe not getting them to finish their homework, or eat their vegetables when she is busy doing first lady-like things.