Obama Gets Cranky About Alpha Kappa Alpha

What Women Really Think
July 27 2009 4:46 PM

Obama Gets Cranky About Alpha Kappa Alpha

/blogs/xx_factor/2009/07/27/in_new_york_times_magazine_cover_story_obama_gets_cranky_about_alpha_kappa_alpha/jcr:content/body/slate_image

It’s not a good week for Alpha Kappa Alpha. For starters, the group’s national president, Barbara McKinzie, may be forced out following allegations that, among other "financial misdeeds," she "used the organization’s money to commission a $900,000 'living legacy wax figure’ of herself," as reported in the Washington Business Journal .

Advertisement

And then there was the New York Times Magazine cover story on Valerie Jarrett this weekend, which opened with an anecdote from the campaign trail, in which Jarrett wielded her trusted-advisor power to convince Barack Obama to go to an Alpha Kappa Alpha event-an event he desperately didn’t want to attend. As Robert Draper reports, Obama’s response to the request that he make an appearance at the African-American sorority’s Pink Ice Ball was: "I’ve been to sorority events before ... We’re not gonna change anybody’s mind.’" After which he "snapped": "I’m not going to any sorority event." And "barked": "I told Anton I’m not going to any Pink Ice Ball!"

As I made my way through the piece, I couldn’t get that lede out of my head. Why was Obama so against going to the sorority event, and what did he mean that he wouldn’t change anybody’s mind? Is Alpha Kappa Alpha notoriously conservative, or aggressively pro-Hillary?

Not at all. As my colleague with friends in the sorority put it, "If you can find a Republican at the Pink Ice Ball, I'll clean your bathroom with a toothbrush." And Megan Taylor, who was an undergrad member of the Theta Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, confirms that the sorority as a whole is very pro-Democrat, and pro-Obama. She says they released Obama T-shirts and signs with their signature green and pink colors to the entire organization (which requires approval at the national level), and inducted Michelle as an honorary member. Like me, Megan couldn’t make sense of that "We’re not gonna change anybody’s mind" line. Does it make sense to anyone else?

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 3:33 PM Killing With Kindness My in-laws want to throw me a get-well-from-cancer bash. There’s no way I can go.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.