>I must say that I was thoroughly impressed by last night’s speakers. Sen. Ted Kennedy reminded the crowd that the dreams of Sen. Obama’s campaigns are nothing new–idealistic Democrats have pitched equally ambitious ideas and have been shot down by naysayers and doubters.
However, I must say that Michelle Obama left more of an impression on my mind than Sen. Kennedy. No, I’m not saying Sen. Kennedy’s speech was less inspirational and Mrs. Obama’s was the greatest thing since sliced bread. No, what I’m saying is that Michelle Obama’s speech is the first time in a long time in which our country was presented an unfiltered, positive image of a black woman.
Too often, the images of black women have fallen into two categories: oversexualized and/or ghetto (which can mean loud, bossy, etc.). Black women in the public eye, including public service and entertainment have been boxed into fit at least one of these categories. Besides Oprah, there have been no positive images women of color like myself can look up to.
But when I saw Mrs. Obama speak and when I see her on the campaign trail, there’s something about her that draws me in. There’s something about her that makes me want to scream, “You go girl!” It’s the same feeling many black men I’ve encountered have about Sen. Obama–a sense of pride and inspiration.
The way Mrs. Obama carries herself, the way she’s unapologetic about where she’s from and what she’s been through, the way she never lets the right-wing (and left-wing, in some respects) propagandists beat her down, the way she relates to other men and women supporters of her husband, Mrs. Obama is well on her way to solidifying an image into mainstream America’s minds of a black woman: independent, loving, sexy, strong and intelligent.
Maybe I’m just being too optimistic. Maybe I’m getting swept up into this whole post-racial notion that an Obama presidency will be the end of racism and sexism as we know it.
No, I’m not that naive. I’m well-aware that this country has a long way to go before it can achieve a post-racial society in which race, gender and class are no longer barriers to achievement. I’m well-aware that negative images of black women will endure as long as mainstream society continues to consumes them. I’m well-aware that white supremacists and those who are sensitive to their ideas will always have problems with the advancement of women, gays and people of color.
What do you think? Do you think Michelle Obama can or will change the image of the American black woman?