African Americans' self-concept is susceptible to pervasive cultural stereotypes. However, exposure to in-group exemplars such as Barack Obama as a prominent, admired African American may be accessible enough to attenuate the detrimental effects of stereotypes. In two experiments, African- American adolescent (Pilot Experiment) and adult (Main Experiment) participants were provided with information about outstanding successes and societal contributions of Obama as a single in-group exemplar (Pilot and Main Experiments) or multiple in-group exemplars (e.g., Obama, Oprah Winfrey; Main Experiment). Then, participants reported the extent to which they associated their self-concept with stereotypes. The Pilot Experiment supported an "Obama effect"-African-American adolescents exhibited less self-stereotyping after exposure to Obama, when compared to those in a control condition. The Main Experiment demonstrated that exposure to Obama or multiple exemplars yielded less self-stereotyping, but only among strongly identified African Americans. Implications for the importance of role models in combating the effect of stigma on the self-concept are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- African American
- Ethnic-racial identification
- Obama effect