Baylor University assistant professor Mia Moody did a study of social media stereotyping of Barack and Michelle Obama; her findings appeared in the journal New Media & Culture.
Moody researched hundreds of Facebook groups and pages. She found numerous examples of the president and the first lady being targeted with racist and sexist rhetoric that, not surprisingly, also indirectly spread hatred toward women and blacks.
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Moody observed that, while the group professed to dislike Obama not because of his race, most comments on the page attacked the president “personally with racial slurs.” Just one example: “Obama needs to step down and go back to Africa with the rest of the coons!! He’s nothing but a jigaboo and spear chucker!!”
The scholarly article:
New Media-Same Stereotypes: An Analysis of Social Media Depictions of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
To remain relevant, it is necessary for media scholars to test theories in new media environments. Building on feminist and critical race theory, this textual analysis investigates Facebook photos and pages targeting President Barack and Michelle Obama in 2011-12. Findings indicate Facebook fans build on historical stereotypes and cultural narratives to frame the two negatively. Representations often depict them as evil, animalistic and socially deviant. Study findings demonstrate that historical representations of Blacks are strong and have an impact on modern portrayals. This topic is particularly important today in this age dubbed “post-racial” to depict an era in which U.S. citizens elected the first black president. In addition to identifying the nuances of Facebook hate groups, this study explores historical representations of African Americans, discusses how they transcend to a new media platform and offers implications for future research. To navigate the rapidly changing media climate, students and media scholars must learn how to read and critically dissect Web content. This paper provides a good foundation upon which to build.