Michelle Obama opens up about the racism she faced during her time as first lady

By Nombulelo Manyana
28 July 2017

“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut."

While Barack Obama usually gets most of the credit for breaking political boundaries, such as being the first black president of the United States, Michelle was also a trailblazer in her own right.

Being the first black first lady, she recently opened up about what it was like to deal with racism while living and working in the White House.

Speaking at the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado in Denver, which is her first public appearance since she left the White House, she said her role opened her up to a lot of criticism that often resulted in racist insults.

 

Michelle referenced how racially charged attacks — like being called an ape and those that focused on her body — hurt her the most.

“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she said.

“Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color,” she said, according to a report in the Denver Post.

In 2016 after the presidential election, two West Virginia officials lost their jobs for referring to Michelle as an “ape in heels” in a Facebook post celebrating President Donald Trump’s victory.

In the speech, made on Tuesday at the Pepsi Centre, Michelle said she can’t pretend like those experiences didn’t hurt because that would let the perpetrators off the hook too easily.

“Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut. We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”

But Micelle further said women should own their scars and that despite how deeply those cuts hurt, they go on to heal and that women who own those wounds and scars can help younger girls who are in the midst of their first cuts.

Sources: HuffPost SA. Denver Post. The Vox.

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