In her recently released book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes that she will “never forgive” Trump for spreading the birther conspiracy. But the Obamas didn’t have the luxury of treating Trump the way—for instance—Hillary Clinton did at the service. She looked like she would have rather sawed off her arm than acknowledge the Trumps. She gave the president and first lady a slight nod as they took their seats. Considering that Trump is still calling for her to be investigated and jailed, the cold reception was predictable and warranted.
But had the Obamas behaved like Clinton, they would have been accused of grandstanding and dividing the country even more than it already is. Or pundits would have said that they lacked the grace and decency befitting a couple who had once occupied the White House. A video clip of two black people showcasing visible anger toward the president would have been played over and over again on cable news.
Most black people have been told practically since the womb that they must be twice as good to get half as much as anybody white.