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The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?$
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Gregory Parks and Matthew Hughey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735204.001.0001

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Michelle Obama: Redefining Images of Black Women

Michelle Obama: Redefining Images of Black Women

(p.116) Chapter 6 Michelle Obama: Redefining Images of Black Women
The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?

Shanette C. Porter

Gregory S. Parks

Oxford University Press

The election of Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States is a milestone in this country’s history in and of itself. But even more, his election brings with it another first—the first black First Lady of the United States. Toward that end, Mrs. Obama has captured the imagination of people the world over. One must wonder what impact Mrs. Obama will have as black woman who can boast so many virtues—e.g., intelligence, outspokenness, professional success, beauty, and being a fashion icon. Her image stands in stark contrast to the stereotypes associated with women and blacks. Moreover, it adds nuance and new dimensions to the intersection of race and gender, and as much how we think about black women. For centuries, black women have been shoehorned into a handful of stereotypes—i.e., the mammy, the sexual siren, the welfare queen, the matriarch, and the angry Black woman. Arguably, Michelle Obama represents a pushback against each of these, even at the implicit level.

Keywords:   Michelle Obama, racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, intersectionality, implicit stereotypes, social psychology, stereotype malleability

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