CNN has a great piece on the Obamas role in breaking stereotypes of what a black family is supposed to be. Check it out here.
This is hilarious:
Jamaal Young was watching Barack Obama and his family greet an ecstatic crowd in Chicago, Illinois, on Election Night when he realized that something seemed wrong.
Obama didn’t shout at his wife, Michelle, to shut up. The first lady didn’t roll her eyes and tell Obama to act like a man. No laugh track kicked in, no one danced, and no police sirens wailed in the background.
Young had tuned in to celebrate the election of the nation’s first African-American president. But he realized that he was witnessing another historic first. A black family was being featured as the first family, not the “problem family” or the “funny family.
“They are not here to entertain us,” says Young, a New York Press columnist. “Michelle Obama is not sitting around with her girlfriends saying, ‘My man ain’t no good.’ You’re not seeing this over -sexualized, crazy black family that, every time a Marvin Gaye song comes on, someone stands up and says, ‘Oh girl, that’s my jam.’ “
It’s true. They are a normal family(as normal as a First Family can be) that is trying to achieve something great in the world rather than trying to deal with stereotypical cultural pathologies. Because they are dealing with regular life issues that concern everyone, it’s easy for people to see themselves within the First Family.
It’s especially empowering for African Americans because they get to see themselves represented in a positive light, a portrayal which is not as outlandish as some people might believe. It could have a beneficial effect on black intimacy and family life. As King from the 44s mentions, intimacy is an even greater problem among Asian Americans (King is African American). Going back to the Asian American IR discussion that continues to pop up, having a normal, Asian American family with an Asian American man and woman at a high level of prominence would do wonders for Asian Americans, and it could help to fix some of our own cultural pathologies. I don’t know if people in Washington State saw much of Gary and Mona Locke–outside of official business, we Oregonians don’t see all that much of the Kulongoskis in the media, and we don’t see much of the Pattersons in the NY Times–but it would be great to see this kind of representation for Asian Americans, whether through an open celebrity couple OR through prominent literature.
It’s a goal that we should take up.