The Michelle Obama Effect

We have a fabulous First Lady. She is intelligent, caring, professional, ambitious, attractive,humble, stylish and supportive. Despite the stereotypes and personal attacks on her character, she maintains her composure and is a role model to many.  Let me be clear, I admire Michelle Obama.

However, when someone tells me that my mother or other professional Black women are Michelle Obama, for some reason, I always feel uncomfortable. Firstly, as flattering as it is to be considered on par with the First Lady,  I do not like that certain people act as if professional, elegant and graceful Black women were non-existent before Michelle Obama entered the white house. Before Michelle Obama there was Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Ida Wells Barnett, Madame CJ Walker. There have always been  intelligent, caring and professional Black women in the Black community. Michelle Obama is not some rarity or exception to the rule, there are plenty of elegant, intelligent Black women out there.

The other thing that bothers me is that it seems like as Black women, we are either Bonquisha on the corner or Michelle Obama, there is no in-between.

It’s as if we’re seen as either these classless,  loud women who hang out, half-dressed on street corners (Bonquisha stereotype) or we’re the rare, exceptional Black woman who is professional, intelligent and classy. If you’re  considered an articulate, intelligent Black woman, you are automatically placed in the exceptional Michelle Obama category, if you don’t fall into that Michelle Obama image, then you’re placed in the Bonquisha category. You can never just be you…What I mean by that is, Black women can never just be human, we always have to be constrained to some stereotype.

Why is it inconceivable that a Black woman can just be herself…why can’t you be intelligent, caring and still be you. Why are Black women constrained to these dichotomous images where there is no grey area? I know plenty of Black women who talk in  so-called “Black vernacular,” and they are very intelligent and educated. However, society places them in the demeaning Bonquisha category just because of the way they talk. In effect, the Michelle Obama stereotype denies Black women who are intelligent and caring the right to recognition just because they do not meet the requirements of a  seemingly positive stereotype.

Black women are individuals. We run the gamut when it comes to our personality, background and disposition. The way we talk, behave or our educational background should not restrict us to these dichotomous stereotypes.

As much as I admire Michelle Obama, it’s still a stereotype to call a professional, educated Black woman ( or any Black woman who isn’t Michelle Obama) Michelle Obama, it’s still dehumanizing at the end of the day because it denies you the right to individuality by constraining you to a stereotype. It’s just as dehumanizing as placing all Black women in the Bonquisha category.

As proud as I am of Michelle Obama, I am not her nor am I Bonquisha…I’m just me.

The Michelle Obama Effect

11 thoughts on “The Michelle Obama Effect

  1. Andy Chow says:

    Michelle Obama only has 26 full time individuals to try and make her look good. Can’t she be a pro on her own two feet? Maybe 2-3 personal assistants? No, 26 people have to help her look half decent.

    Pay lot’s and lot’s of taxes people,because it’s money well spent.

    P.S. Dawnali’s site is now unusable. The ads crash my computer.

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    1. look at this way andy, all the other first ladies had 26 or more personal assistants to make them look good and they STILL didn’t look as good as Michelle does. You need to take your complaint about dawn ali to Dawn Ali and send her an email complaint.

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      1. The One says:

        Peanut, that racist’s anti-Michelle Obama comments are just typical of the anti-Black female bs that we can never get away from. I guess Michelle.O is the FIRST first lady to ever have a team working for her right? BS! I notice that even on so-called “Black women’s”/BWE” sites, it is the same thing. Half-hearted defense of Black women against raciomisogyny, apologizing for Black men’s abuse of Black women, protecting women of other races, and blaming Black women for every damn thing wrong in this life. I’m sick of it, I’m truly sick and tired of it.

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      2. i took offense to the comment from Andy as well. As if we don’t have other first ladies who get personal stylist and have all the money at their disposal, to me it’s just an insult for andy to make that comment

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    2. Kushite Prince says:

      You’re crazy!lol And what about the other first ladies?? Michelle still looks better than the rest of them. You racist idiot are too much.lol You need to go somewhere wit that nonsense.

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  2. I love Mrs Obama. She visited a girls school a few miles from my home, and she absolutely blew their minds by turning up unexpectedly. That single visit changed the lives and aspiration of all of those little girls!

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  3. WOW! I totally agree. People have been comparing my mom to our First Lady too but she see it as a compliment. As sure as a POC is in the news for anything, positive or negative, you can be sure the racist will show up.

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  4. This was an interesting post and I liked this quote “In effect, the Michelle Obama stereotype denies Black women who are intelligent and caring the right to recognition just because they do not meet the requirements of a seemingly positive stereotype.” It seems to be true sometimes. I think that people will judge you based not only on your education, what you do for a living, and how you dress but also based on the way you speak, who you associate with, and whether you conform to negative Black stereotypes. Even if you have many positives, conforming to a negative stereotype may negate that to others who will put you into the Bonquisha category. No that isn’t fair.

    It kind of reminds me of something I studied before about in-groups and out-groups. If we’re talking about White people judging Black people (their out group) then they perceive us based on stereotypes and think most of us are very similar and that’s why they think there are only two types of Black women. But when White people look at other White people (their in group) they accept that there are many different individuals and not just two types of women. The same thing goes for when Black people judge White people (their out group) or people of other races and Black people may think the others only fit a limited number of stereotypes. I’m not sure if you mean Black women do that to each other because then that would be even more sad.

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  5. felicia says:

    Thats right black people are all different,i trying to stop discriminating myself against my own race. I know i dont hell in public or fit into any stereotypes. I love helping out others. Michelle obama is a great example but its up to us,to go against medias that put a negative light on black communitys.

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