Does Black and Male Still = Threat in the Age of Obama?
While some herald Barack Obama’s election as the first black President of the United States as evidence that people were able to overcome stereotypes regarding black men, others suggest that it is Obama’s election that will provide a new image of black men that will, in turn, help to eradicate racial stereotypes and racism more generally. This chapter considers the relevance of prevailing stereotypes of black men in light of Obama’s rise to the Presidency. The chapter first reviews the extant social psychological evidence suggesting that there is a pervasive connection between black men and threat in the minds of most social perceivers. After, evidence regarding the malleability of this “black male = threat” stereotype is presented, followed by a discussion of Obama’s potential to attenuate it. The chapter ends with a discussion of the potential influence of the “black male = threat” stereotype on Obama’s Presidential bid and presidency.
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