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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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Sasha and Malia: Re-Envisioning African-American Youth

Sasha and Malia: Re-Envisioning African-American Youth

(p.166) Chapter 8 Sasha and Malia: Re-Envisioning African-American Youth
The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?

Valerie Purdie-Vaughns,

Rachel Sumner

Geoffrey L. Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the effect of President Obama’s political success on the academic achievement of academically at-risk ethnic minority students. Existing research on role models, stereotype threat and self affirmation shapes this exploration of potential consequences of Obama’s being elected on minority students’ motivation and academic performance. One possibility is that Obama’s success will act as a societal level disconfirmation of stereotypes about minority students’ intellectual ability, leading to an expected improvement in motivation and performance. Alternatively, Obama’s historic accomplishment may be discouraging for minority youth who compare their own successes to his, which would likely result in a decrease in motivation and performance. It may be the case, however, that Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency has little or no effect on minority student motivation or academic performance. Strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of Obama as a role model are discussed.

Keywords:   academic achievement, stereotypes, role models, minority, self-affirmation

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