Years ago, Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, wasn’t quite sure at first about that Barack guy her daughter was dating. Fortunately though, she came around, though she admitted in an interview during Barack’s 2004 Senate campaign, she wasn’t sure if his being biracial would pose a problem for her daughter. She did say that she was less concerned than if he’d been completely white.
In a Chicago TV interview that aired during Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign — and newly resurrected by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin in a book due out next month — Marion Robinson confessed to being “a little bit” wary about her future son-in-law being the product of a white mom and black dad.
But it could’ve been worse, according to Robinson.
“That didn’t concern me as much as had he been completely white,” Robinson laughed in the appearance on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” which was scarcely noticed at the time.
Slevin’s forthcoming biography, “Michelle Obama: A Life,” doesn’t suggest those concerns spurred Robinson to oppose the union.
To the contrary, writes Slevin, a veteran Washington Post correspondent who now teaches journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School: “Marian, no pushover, was favorably impressed with Barack.”
When the Obamas moved to Washington, Robinson, now 77, joined them as the doting and protective grandmother to the couple’s daughters, Sasha and Malia.
While granting few interviews, Robinson has spent years doing everything from tucking the girls in at night to accompanying them on official trips to China and Africa.
More recently, she marched with the Obama family in Selma, Ala., to commemorated one of the bloodiest battles of the civil rights movement.
“Michelle Obama: A Life” is scheduled for release on April 7 by Alfred A. Knopf.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.