Author Topic: Michelle Obama handshake  (Read 4624 times)

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Two Ravens

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2010, 12:53:44 PM »
I honestly thing Mrs. President's staff really dropped the ball here. She should have been briefed about this before she went.

This very much.

 ???  She should have been briefed not to shake this one particular gentlemen's hand?  
Yes she should have. If he is known not to want to shake female's hands, it is her staff's responsibility to be aware of that and make sure she is as well.

I don't agree.  It is not the responsibility of the First Lady to know the preferences of everyone she is likely to meet.  If the gentlemen did not want to shake hands with her, there are polite ways he could have declined to.  To blame this incident on the First Lady or her staff is ridiculous.
I'm not saying it is entirely her staff's fault. Please read my original post.

I am not aware of the specifics of the event she was attending at the time, but as a representative of our country, it is absolutely her responsibility to know how to greet those she will be meeting with. It is part of international politics AND international business.

We do it all the time here and we're not even important. It just takes a quick, "Don't shake so-and-so's hand for religious reasons."

ETA: My opinion is valid. Please refrain from calling it ridiculous.

I thought you were not blaming her or her staff?  That is what I am calling ridiculous.  That is my opinion and it is also valid.

Michelle Obama was briefed on the local customs.  Most people there had no problem (and seemed delighted) to shake her hand.  She probably shook 100 hands on this trip so far. One person did not want to, and had the option of declining, but for some reason did not.  He then blamed her.

PeasNCues

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2010, 12:56:31 PM »
I honestly thing Mrs. President's staff really dropped the ball here. She should have been briefed about this before she went.

This very much.

 ???  She should have been briefed not to shake this one particular gentlemen's hand?  
Yes she should have. If he is known not to want to shake female's hands, it is her staff's responsibility to be aware of that and make sure she is as well.

I don't agree.  It is not the responsibility of the First Lady to know the preferences of everyone she is likely to meet.  If the gentlemen did not want to shake hands with her, there are polite ways he could have declined to.  To blame this incident on the First Lady or her staff is ridiculous.
I'm not saying it is entirely her staff's fault. Please read my original post.

I am not aware of the specifics of the event she was attending at the time, but as a representative of our country, it is absolutely her responsibility to know how to greet those she will be meeting with. It is part of international politics AND international business.

We do it all the time here and we're not even important. It just takes a quick, "Don't shake so-and-so's hand for religious reasons."

ETA: My opinion is valid. Please refrain from calling it ridiculous.

I thought you were not blaming her or her staff?  That is what I am calling ridiculous.  That is my opinion and it is also valid.

Michelle Obama was briefed on the local customs.  Most people there had no problem (and seemed delighted) to shake her hand.  One person did not want to, and had the option of declining, but for some reason did not.  He then blamed her.
Who said I was not blaming her or her staff? I said it wasn't entirely her staff's fault. All they had to do was identify that one person to Mrs. Obama so she was aware. Happens all the time. I agree that he is acting petulent.

Scout Finch has a good run down of how I feel.

I believe that calling someone else's opinion ridiculous is quite rude.
'I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit, and perhaps go out later for a sniff of air.  Mind your Ps and Qs, and don't forget that you are supposed to be escaping in secret, and are still on the high-road and not very far from the Shire!' -FOTR

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Two Ravens

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2010, 01:06:18 PM »
I honestly thing Mrs. President's staff really dropped the ball here. She should have been briefed about this before she went.

This very much.

 ???  She should have been briefed not to shake this one particular gentlemen's hand?  
Yes she should have. If he is known not to want to shake female's hands, it is her staff's responsibility to be aware of that and make sure she is as well.

I don't agree.  It is not the responsibility of the First Lady to know the preferences of everyone she is likely to meet.  If the gentlemen did not want to shake hands with her, there are polite ways he could have declined to.  To blame this incident on the First Lady or her staff is ridiculous.
I'm not saying it is entirely her staff's fault. Please read my original post.

I am not aware of the specifics of the event she was attending at the time, but as a representative of our country, it is absolutely her responsibility to know how to greet those she will be meeting with. It is part of international politics AND international business.

We do it all the time here and we're not even important. It just takes a quick, "Don't shake so-and-so's hand for religious reasons."

ETA: My opinion is valid. Please refrain from calling it ridiculous.

I thought you were not blaming her or her staff?  That is what I am calling ridiculous.  That is my opinion and it is also valid.

Michelle Obama was briefed on the local customs.  Most people there had no problem (and seemed delighted) to shake her hand.  One person did not want to, and had the option of declining, but for some reason did not.  He then blamed her.
Who said I was not blaming her or her staff? I said it wasn't entirely her staff's fault. All they had to do was identify that one person to Mrs. Obama so she was aware. Happens all the time. I agree that he is acting petulent.

Scout Finch has a good run down of how I feel.

I believe that calling someone else's opinion ridiculous is quite rude.

Ok, I apologize for calling your opinion ridiculous.  I just do not agree with it.  How do you know this "happens all the time?"

I do not think the FL should have to remember one person whom she should not shake hands with out of 100 that will.  I do not think that is the responsibility of a visiting head-of-state.  It is the responsibility of a diplomat, however, to know how to politely decline to shake someone's hand (and not to whine about it afterwards).

Jolie_kitten

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2010, 01:17:13 PM »
I personally see the ball was more in his/his staff's court to let it be known to her/her staff that he does not shake hands; shaking hands with everyone is part of the American culture, while not shaking women's hands, while being an option that many religious people in Indonesia stick to, isn't really part of the Indonesian culture. Therefore, it would have been a lot easier for his staff to figure that MO will most likely initiate a handshake unless informed not to, so they could let her know the minister would rather not do it, than for her staff to just guess, without being told, that the guy does not do handshakes with women.
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PeasNCues

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2010, 01:18:13 PM »
Ok, I apologize for calling your opinion ridiculous.  I just do not agree with it.
Thank you.  :) I am not going to insist that you agree with me.  ;D

Quote
 How do you know this "happens all the time?"
Because there are teams of people in the white house whose entire jobs are to make sure things like this don't happen (yes, I know this). There are teams of people in commands, agencies, etc to make sure things like this don't happen and their representatives are sent ahead fully knowledgable about how to greet people (at the very least). We have one here in our command.

They check the list of attending and research them to see if the FL needs to know anything. Since this man is well known (it seems, I have no clue who he is as it's not my job to) for his religious convictions, she should have been told that.

Quote
I do not think the FL should have to remember one person whom she should not shake hands with out of 100 that will.  I do not think that is the responsibility of a visiting head-of-state.  

Why not? As FL, she needs to make sure that any interaction with any foriegn dignitary goes as smoothly as possible. And it is not as if the FL doesn't have resources available to her to make this known. And, recognizing one face out of 100 wouldn't be that hard if she were told ahead of time.

Quote
It is the responsibility of a diplomat, however, to know how to politely decline to shake someone's hand (and not to whine about it afterwards).
This is very true. It is the responsibility of any diplomat to handle any hickups that may occur with continued dignity.
'I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit, and perhaps go out later for a sniff of air.  Mind your Ps and Qs, and don't forget that you are supposed to be escaping in secret, and are still on the high-road and not very far from the Shire!' -FOTR

http://inanitiesofanidlemind.blogspot.com/

Two Ravens

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2010, 01:26:20 PM »
I personally see the ball was more in his/his staff's court to let it be known to her/her staff that he does not shake hands; shaking hands with everyone is part of the American culture, while not shaking women's hands, while being an option that many religious people in Indonesia stick to, isn't really part of the Indonesian culture. Therefore, it would have been a lot easier for his staff to figure that MO will most likely initiate a handshake unless informed not to, so they could let her know the minister would rather not do it, than for her staff to just guess, without being told, that the guy does not do handshakes with women.

Yes, I agree the onus was on him rather than her.

I don't think it is up to the FL's staff to determine the handshaking preferences of everyone she might meet on a diplomatic visit.

PeasNCues

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2010, 01:29:17 PM »
I personally see the ball was more in his/his staff's court to let it be known to her/her staff that he does not shake hands; shaking hands with everyone is part of the American culture, while not shaking women's hands, while being an option that many religious people in Indonesia stick to, isn't really part of the Indonesian culture. Therefore, it would have been a lot easier for his staff to figure that MO will most likely initiate a handshake unless informed not to, so they could let her know the minister would rather not do it, than for her staff to just guess, without being told, that the guy does not do handshakes with women.
I do agree that the fault lies a lot more with the man himself and his staff than with the FL's staff. And of course, if the FL wasn't told about his religious convictions, no fault lies with her.

I just don't think remembering one fact about greeting one person is asking a lot of the FL, who seems to be an intelligent and gracious person.
'I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit, and perhaps go out later for a sniff of air.  Mind your Ps and Qs, and don't forget that you are supposed to be escaping in secret, and are still on the high-road and not very far from the Shire!' -FOTR

http://inanitiesofanidlemind.blogspot.com/

geordicat

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2010, 01:33:40 PM »
When I saw the clip I immediately thought "Why was he then in the line to shake hands?  He saw what was going on.  Couldn't he zip to the end or bow out?"  It seemed to me there was time.  And.. it's a receiving line.  He stood in it. 

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DangerMouth

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2010, 02:23:44 PM »
When I saw the clip I immediately thought "Why was he then in the line to shake hands?  He saw what was going on.  Couldn't he zip to the end or bow out?"  It seemed to me there was time.  And.. it's a receiving line.  He stood in it. 

ITA. It wasn't like he couldn't see what was coming. He wasn't the head of state, nor the most important person in that line by a long shot. Indonesia is a republic, with an elected legislature and president. He is a diplomat. If he couldn't figure out a way to be diplomatic about the handshake he should have seen coming, he should have at least kept quite about it afterwards.

Sharnita

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2010, 02:33:46 PM »
but even if they had briefed her when he made a move as if to shake her hand what is she to do?  It looks like he wants to shake hands, she has been told he doesn't shake hands with women, which way does she go?  If he is indeed trying to shake hands and she rebuffs him based on the advice of her staff that could cause a huge incident too.  I don't see how being briefed in this case would have done a ton of good.

geordicat

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2010, 04:21:05 PM »
Maybe a separate line for non hand shakers? I can honestly see both sides here.  But he stood in the line where they were going to shake hands. 
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boxy

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2010, 04:47:28 PM »
Mrs. Obama has a STAFF of people who deal specifically with protocol issues.  Had they done their job she would never have extended her hand.  Or maybe she knew and didn't care.

cbcb

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2010, 04:50:02 PM »
Mrs. Obama has a STAFF of people who deal specifically with protocol issues.  Had they done their job she would never have extended her hand.  Or maybe she knew and didn't care.

Did you watch the video? It's not even apparent that she was extending until he turned and reached out. Your second statement is pretty much the definition of an interesting assumption.

I could see both sides until the point where he got on Twitter claiming she "forced" him to handshake. Because while people can quibble on details, the tape is very clear that his version is clearly untrue.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 04:51:49 PM by cbcb »

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2010, 04:51:42 PM »
No, it isn't the responsibility of the First Lady's staff to know everybody's handshake preference.   But Mrs. Obama and the President should have been instructed about local customs and given a Plan "B," for this was sure to come up in Indonesia.  The Plan B could have been for her to hold her hand ready at waist level to see what the other person initiated.

The Obamas should consider getting more experienced protocol advisers. This incident, plus previous incidents of bowing to the Japanese Emperor and the Saudi King, plus the DC party crashers suggest that they could benefit from more seasoned advice.

I thought that it was tacky for the Minister to tweet about it later.  Talk about CYA.

cbcb

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Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #44 on: November 12, 2010, 04:53:32 PM »
No, it isn't the responsibility of the First Lady's staff to know everybody's handshake preference.   But Mrs. Obama and the President should have been instructed about local customs and given a Plan "B," for this was sure to come up in Indonesia.  The Plan B could have been for her to hold her hand ready at waist level to see what the other person initiated.

The Obamas should consider getting more experienced protocol advisers. This incident, plus previous incidents of bowing to the Japanese Emperor and the Saudi King, plus the DC party crashers suggest that they could benefit from more seasoned advice.

I thought that it was tacky for the Minister to tweet about it later.  Talk about CYA.

See, this is where I'm confused. He was criticized for greeting some people in their traditional way. Now she's criticized for greeting people in the American tradition. So how are they supposed to greet people to not be criticized?

The DC party crashers suggest that someone clearly needs to shape up - not sure if it's them or their "people". Maybe the people who check the guest list?  :D

Your plan B is exactly what she (to my eye, at least) seemed to be doing in the video. Additionally, despite early reports, it is apparently not the standard in Indonesia for men to avoid touching non-related women - again from the clip, many other men are shaking hands with her.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 04:55:27 PM by cbcb »