The kiss, outside last week’s Harvard-Yale football game, suggests that the 19-year-old former first daughter is boldly asserting her independence after eight sheltered years in the White House.
While they made out, we made conversation, thrown together in the awkwardness of nearby coupledom.
Before long, we had our own inside jokes, a shared eye-roll at yet another lover's quarrel in a small space.
One need only look to the vitriol heaped upon tennis star Serena Williams last winter when she revealed her engagement to Alex Ohanian, the white co-founder of Reddit who’s now her husband (and daughter’s father).
Williams’ announcement was met with messages of anger, betrayal and dismay across #blacktwitter.
We were still at an age where our parents insisted on treating us like children. Once again, she was treating me like a child, someone unable to make her own decisions. It didn't seem like such a big deal, as my best friend was doing nothing sneaking around to be with her boyfriend. Suddenly, I wasn't that scared, invisible girl anymore, watching from the sidelines. I remember it was a gorgeous fall day, crisp and cool, and the first time I'd had Brie cheese and red wine. All I had was my instinct and discomfort — a bad gut feeling. When I write novels, there is always a clear trajectory: the beginning, middle, climax, and end. "We'll go somewhere."And that's when I said it."."My own voice — big, firm, filling the space — was a surprise to both of us. When I turned 21, I remember making a point, regularly, to look at teens and ask myself whether I'd want to hang out with them, much less date one. As a teen wishing to be an adult, it is easy to get in over your head.
How wonderful it felt to have an "adult" who valued our opinion; thought we were not just cute but interesting. I was wearing a Bundeswehr tank top I'd gotten at an Army supply store and faded jeans, a thrift shop crucifix around my neck. But as we sat there together in the sunshine, the wine buzzing my head, I suddenly felt … With real life, however, and memory especially, it is harder to keep things so neat and organized. In the first, I snuck out of the house with a guy friend who lived down the street. My friend came back, we went home and I slid back into my bed. The second incident I remember happened when he was giving me a ride home. I'd been quiet for so long, worried about hurting his feelings and the ripple effects of whatever actions I took. You don't need to offer an explanation, even if someone asks you for one. You can't just hang out with a guy and not expect him to get ideas, I told myself. Especially for girls, who are often taught that being polite and sweet should override all other instincts. That if something feels wrong, that's all the reason you need to get out of there.
“In short, no matter the personal cost,” Banks said, “black women are encouraged to marry ‘down’ before they marry ‘out.'” So far, Obama’s kiss is been met with relatively little backlash.
This decorum, however, is likely to fade if Obama continues to date—and ultimately marry—outside her race.
Marriage rates overall are in precipitous decline across America, but this is especially true for black Americans—only 30% of black American adults were married in 2015, Pew researchers found.