Michelle Obama
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
Chapter 6

At the age of seventeen, Michelle Obama joined Princeton University. She recounts her journey to Princeton accompanied by her father and David, her then boyfriend (Obama 62). The author acknowledges that during her time, Princeton University was “extremely white and very male” (Obama 64). Both men and white students outnumbered females and African American students respectively. Racial issues were still obvious at Princeton, with less than 9 percent of Michelle’s freshman class being black students. Standing out in a classroom due to the color of her skin made Michelle feel uncomfortable, evoking feelings of not being good enough. Therefore, the author states that the company of black friends provided support and relief since it was the only time they could laugh as much as they wanted without the fear of being judged or looked down upon (Obama 66). The most memorable moments from her time in Princeton involve her former roommate, Cathy, who later appeared in the media, claiming that her mother had requested the university to separate the two, simply because Michelle was black. Obama states that she was used to being black and “not to feel intimidated when classroom conversations were dominated by male students” (Obama 69). Apparently, the percent of black students at Princeton was so low that Michelle felt their presence was always noticeable.


In this chapter, the author wants the readers to comprehend how racial prejudice limited the destinies of most African American generations. As a result of poor living condition, most parents were unemployed and thus could not afford to send their children to good schools. Even for students who were able to attend white-dominated universities like Princeton, Obama informs the readers that learning was not easy. Black students always felt intimated and lacked a sense of belonging. Their presence was so conspicuous that they often stood out among their classmates. Moreover, the author wants to show how the stereotypes and prejudice against minorities were evident and cruel to a point that a white parent could request a university to separate his or her child from their black roommate. However, the author inspires the readers by acknowledging that neither being white or black nor being privileged or not privileged can protect a person from failure.

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