Michelle Obama Puts the 'Angry Black Woman' Stereotype to Rest

michelle obamaMichelle Obama isn't angry about being painted as an "angry black woman" in The Obamas, the new book by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor. Michelle Obama is above letting such petty stereotypes get under her skin. Of course. We've come to expect this kind of grace and intelligence from the First Lady.

That said, she's not going to just sit back and pretend the implication hasn't been made, and that's what really impresses me. She's too responsible for that. Because Michelle Obama does seem angry about one thing: The fact that such a double whammy gender/race prejudice as "angry black woman" continues to prevail in America in the first place.


In a recent interview with CBS News, the First Lady explained her issue with being portrayed as a power-hungry, manipulative wife who terrorized her husband's staff:

I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman. But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced. That I’m some angry black woman.

I'm sure it would have been easier for Michelle Obama not to address the racist, misogynistic subtext in Kantor's book. But that would have been allowing a crucial opportunity to slide. Instead, the First Lady took this as an opportunity to face an ugly cultural misconception head-on. A misconception that's hurting and holding back millions of wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters across the country. Michelle Obama stood up for every woman ever dismissed as "angry and black," plus all the girls who are still too young to know what struggles lie ahead.

Let's hope the country was listening.

Do you think Michelle Obama will help put the myth of the "angry black woman" to rest?


Image via USDAgov/Flickr

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