Obama Gets Cranky About Alpha Kappa Alpha

What Women Really Think
July 27 2009 4:46 PM

Obama Gets Cranky About Alpha Kappa Alpha


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 .


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?



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 30 2014 1:23 PM What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.