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Twitter’s racist and sexist reaction to Michelle Obama and the presidential selfie

During Tuesday's Nelson Mandela memorial, President Barack Obama, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt took a three-person selfie:

There was plenty of glee on Twitter over the prospect of the leader of the free world acting no different than a bored teen at a funeral, but there was also an uglier undercurrent of racism and sexism in the way Twitter responded to Michelle Obama's reaction to the affair. Because the first lady was not involved in the photo — and because she likely did not know her photo was being taken by others — her lack of a big, camera-friendly smile was interpreted by many as disapproval. And since Obama was jovially interacting with a blond white woman (and because Obama and Michelle eventually switched seats) Twitter rather quickly surmised that President Obama was "in the doghouse" when it came to his relationship with his wife.

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