Sasha and Malia: Re-Envisioning African-American Youth

Valerie Purdie-Vaughns,, Rachel Sumner and Geoffrey L. Cohen

in The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735204
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894581 | DOI:

Series: Series in Political Psychology

Sasha and Malia: Re-Envisioning African-American Youth

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This chapter discusses the effect of President Obama’s political success on the academic achievement of academically at-risk ethnic minority students. Existing research on role models, stereotype threat and self affirmation shapes this exploration of potential consequences of Obama’s being elected on minority students’ motivation and academic performance. One possibility is that Obama’s success will act as a societal level disconfirmation of stereotypes about minority students’ intellectual ability, leading to an expected improvement in motivation and performance. Alternatively, Obama’s historic accomplishment may be discouraging for minority youth who compare their own successes to his, which would likely result in a decrease in motivation and performance. It may be the case, however, that Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency has little or no effect on minority student motivation or academic performance. Strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of Obama as a role model are discussed.

Keywords: academic achievement; stereotypes; role models; minority; self-affirmation

Chapter.  10997 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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