Article in the Washington Post today: The Very Image of Affirmation.
This is one of our bonuses in the Obama Administration. People will see a different image of black men through Obama. They are going to see a different image of black women through Michelle, and they are going to see a different image of black families through the Obama family. What makes their image so powerful is that they’re real. They are a real family that deals with real life. Living in the White House is a far from typical experience, but they remain real people with whom others can and will identify. This is powerful stuff.
Some notable quotes:
From Aziza Gibson-Hunter:
“I think Michelle Obama is her own woman. I think people with the stereotype thing need to get over it. She is forcing people who have never taken the time to know who we are as black women to take a second look. To actually see, for once in their life, that there are black women that are brilliant and graceful, intelligent, well spoken and have their own sense of themselves. And it doesn’t have to be measured up to anyone else.”
The Obamas will also serve as a role model for black families and male/female relationships. Although it’s not nearly as pronounced or divisive as that within the Asian American community, there also exists a gender divide in the black community:
Alice M. Thomas, a 45-year-old professor at Howard University School of Law, said the Obama marriage should help redefine the image of black relationships.
With his election night tribute to Michelle as “the love of my life, your next first lady,” Thomas said, the president-elect crowned all black women: “He had a humble enough spirit to concede the stage to her. . . . It elevated black women in a way we haven’t been elevated since antiquity: Queen Hatshepsut, Queen Nzinga, Cleopatra, Nefertiti. World leaders came seeking them, admiring their beauty. They were not just beautiful, they were intelligent.
“For him to regard her and treat her and show and express unabashedly, unashamedly, his love for her, his love for her intelligence, respecting her, romancing her, smiling at her — for the world to see that exchange between a powerful black man and a powerful black woman, I think it’s what is everlasting about this,” Thomas said. “I don’t think we can point to another power black couple like that. Oprah and Stedman aren’t married. And Stedman doesn’t seem to have power. Nelson and Winnie broke up.”