President Obama and the First Lady discussed their own experiences with racism with People magazine, in light of the incidents of racial profiling and the police officer-involved deaths of black males. Michelle Obama said, “I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years. Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”
More from Michelle Obama:
I tell this story–I mean, even as the first lady–during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.
President Obama added, “There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys.”
He alluded to the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice by two white officers:
The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced. It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.
Of course, President Obama’s critics will make it seem as though he is just trying to appease the black community. Never mind the fact that he is biracial.