The mainstream view of the typical black woman may not necessarily be true, but perception can sometimes taint the view of many. This is especially the case if there is no basis of comparison for whatever reason. This has been the case for so long because some of the images in both the media and video have not been such that would challenge the mainstream perception. In other words, there have been images that perpetuate the stereotypical view of what black women are and there had been very little out there to combat these perceptions.
Although there are images and perceptions of what black women are, these perceptions are not, nor ever have been, what I think being a black woman is all about. Mainstream perceptions are the exception, NOT the rule. However, as a black woman, these images are the views of many and there’s the constant fight of the invisible demon of perception whether we realize it or not.
When we see black women in the media, it’s the angry black woman. The project dweller, the ghetto diva, high power heartless corporate woman or the scantily clad skanky dancer in the latest video. All of which are not really who we are as a collective group. I am not saying that these are all of the images that we see, but there are a disproportionate amount of these images versus images of the positive variety.
Negative depictions like this have done nothing to help promote a positive image
These images and negative depictions of black women have become quite a bit more common, due to the video music era. I am not blaming the music industry, only saying that music videos create a vehicle in which to push the negative images to the mainstream populations on a larger scale. For women like myself, who are just like any other working American women, fighting the invisible demon of mainstream perception can be tiring. Then along comes Michelle Obama, who is everything that the mainstream view of black women is not.
I read a Facebook post that said The Obama’s are the black populations equivalent to Jackie and John F. Kennedy, and although I never thought about it until reading that statement, it is so true. This means that Michelle Obama is our version of Jackie O and that is huge for providing a much-needed arsenal to fight the invisible battle of negative perception.
Michelle Obama is a woman that is everything which is needed in our community to provide hope to young girls and to all black women. She exemplifies what class is all about and presents another view of the strong black woman. She is strong without being angry. She is classy without being snobby and is sexy without being skanky. In other words she is everything needed to dispel the perceptions of the black woman, to us as black woman and to mainstream America.
First Lady Michelle Obama
This is one of the reasons that this political race was more than just politics to me. For me, another four years presents an opportunity to reach many more young black girls and teenagers to help them in their efforts not to internalize the negative images that are so common today. It will allow these young girls to see that all black women are not what mainstream media has too often presented black women as and that they to can grow up to become our version of Jackie O – and that is First Lady Michelle Obama.