Hope, Change and Malia Obama

In four short years, a girl can grow into a young woman, and a country can transform for the better.

Posted: 11/09/2012 12:21 PM EST
President Obama and Malia Obama

(The Root) -- When she stepped onto that stage in Chicago on election night, my breath caught. She was tall to the point of stretching, effortlessly poised and graceful beyond reproach. The metaphor is often overused, but she was gazelle-like.

I'm speaking, of course, about 14-year-old first daughter Malia Obama, the teenager who has inherited not only the physical gifts of her famous parents but also the expectations that come with their very existence. 

"Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you're growing up to be two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom," President Obama said in his victory speech.

Like teen gymnast Gabrielle Douglas before her, Malia on Tuesday seemed to truly enter the national stage representing a new generation of young women -- and black women -- who seem unburdened by the stereotypes that have weighed down their predecessors. It wasn't long ago that Michelle Obama, whose national approval rating is about 66 percent, had to bat down worn-out labels like militant, unpatriotic and, of course, angry. But Malia (and her sister, Sasha) seem somewhat exempt from that when it comes to their national perception.

Read the full story on theroot.com.

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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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