After conservative pundit Juan Williams called Michelle Obama “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress,” NPR asked him to stop identifying himself with the station when appearing on Fox News. Yesterday, Washington Post style writer Robin Givhan defended Williams, arguing that the First Lady “is not exceptional” and that her critics have been unfairly attacked:
The vitriol has flown at those, such as journalist Juan Williams, who have suggested that she can be too aggressive or dour in some of her speeches. And the poor woman who wished in Women’s Wear Daily that Obama had worn an ensemble by a black designer during the inauguration was verbally pummeled . . . by black designers. She and Williams may have been wrong. But still, theirs were just opinions.
Of course, Williams did more than “suggest” Obama “can be too aggressive”: He said that she was “militant” and compared her to a civil rights leader who coined the term “black power.” As Feministing explained, what was wrong with Williams’s comments wasn’t that he was just criticizing Obama; it’s the notion that “an outspoken woman of color is downright militant when she’s anything more than demure arm candy.” Adam Serwer at TAPPED has more on what was wrong with Williams’s remark.