Michelle Obama Makes Black Women Proud

The popular image of first lady Michelle Obama appears to have changed for the good the perception of African-American women, writes Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell. 

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Michelle Obama (Getty Images)

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell praises first lady Michelle Obama for helping to change the lens through which black women are viewed and judged. She says that Obama examplifies a multifaceted black woman who has too often been ignored.

It is a good time to be a black woman in America.

Whether or not this assessment stems from the surprising popularity of the nation’s first black first lady, Michelle Obama, isn’t clear.

But according to a recent nationwide survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 73 percent of black women and 71 percent of white women polled responded that they think it is a good time to be a black woman in America.

In a series published last month, the Washington Post and Kaiser Foundation sought to peel back the many dubious labels often ascribed to black women.

We’ve all heard them: “angry,” “strong,” “nagging” and “loose.”

Interviewers talked to about 800 black women about their worries, hopes and fears to determine how black women see themselves in the Age of Obama.

The study itself represents change. After all, it isn’t very often researchers attempt to define black women from a perspective other than that of single mother or poor black women.

But the advent of Michelle Obama seems to have changed that.

Although you can’t really say Obama gave white Americans its first close-up of the accomplished black woman outside of Hollywood (that distinction goes to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice).