In an exclusive interview with Truthout about “Sister Citizen,” we asked Professor [Melissa] Harris-Perry [author of "Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women." and rising star at MSNBC] about the challenge of racial stereotypes confronting Michelle Obama:
Professor Harris-Perry: … These stereotypes don’t exist because they are accurate representations of black women. They exist because they serve the goal of maintaining racial and gender inequality. You can’t overcome a stereotype by acting opposite of it. The point is not to convince other people that you are worthy of being a fully participating citizen, the point is to convince yourself of that truth and to act and organize accordingly.
Clearly, Michelle Obama is like Hillary Clinton, an Ivy League-educated undergraduate (Princeton) and attorney (Harvard Law School) – but she has to face stereotypes confronted both by women in general and black women in particular. Melissa V. Harris-Perry talks about the challenges facing “black women [who] attempt to stand upright in a room made by the crooked stereotypes” about them.
In doing so, whatever the interpretations from Kantor’s book, Michelle Obama has shown what Ernest Hemingway called “grace under pressure.”
That’s no stereotype; that’s the essence of character and integrity.
Please read the entire post here.