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Hastings Women’s Law Journal

Abstract

Pundits and commentators have attempted to make sense of the role that race and gender played in the 2008 presidential campaign. Whereas researchers are drawing on varying bodies of scholarship to illuminate the role that President-elect, Senator Obama's race and Senator Clinton's gender had on their campaigns, Michelle Obama has been left out of the discussion. As Senator Clinton once noted, elections are like hiring decisions. As such, new frontiers in employment discrimination law place Michelle Obama in context within the current presidential campaign. First, racism and sexism are both alive and well within the domains of politics and employment. Second, most racial and gender bias is not express, but unconscious. Third, under Title VII, employment discrimination may be directed at a third party for their association with members of a disliked group. Here, some voters' unconscious race and gender biases against Mrs. Obama likely affected their voting decision vis-a-vis Senator Obama.

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