On the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, Michelle Obama claimed that she faced constant racism during her time as First Lady. However, when it came time to list some examples of the racism she faced, Michelle cited some stories that sound questionable at best.
For the newest episode of her podcast, Michelle sat down with her friends Kelly Dibble, Denielle Pemberton-Heard, and Sharon Malone to talk about racism they’ve faced in their lives.
“What the white community doesn’t understand about being a person of color in this nation is that there are daily slights,” Michelle said. “In our workplaces, where people talk over you, or people don’t even see you.”
While it’s totally believable that Michelle has indeed experienced racism in her lifetime, her stories about supposedly being hit with racism as First Lady are a little hard to believe. The first racist slight Michelle claimed to have experienced occurred after her husband Barack Obama took office.
“We had just finished taking the girls to a soccer game. We were stopping to get ice cream and I had told the Secret Service to stand back, because we were trying to be normal, trying to go in,” Obama said of the quick trip with her two daughters. “There was a line, and…when I’m just a Black woman, I notice that white people don’t even see me. They’re not even looking at me.”
“So I’m standing there with two little Black girls, another Black female adult, they’re in soccer uniforms, and a white woman cuts right in front of us to order. Like, she didn’t even see us,” she continued. “The girl behind the counter almost took her order. And I had to stand up ’cause I know Denielle was like ‘Well, I’m not gonna cause a scene with Michelle Obama.’ So I stepped up and I said, ‘Excuse me? You don’t see us four people standing right here? You just jumped in line?’”
Michelle claimed that the woman “didn’t apologize,” adding she “never looked me in my eye.”
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“She didn’t know it was me,” she said. “All she saw was a Black person, or a group of Black people, or maybe she didn’t even see that. Because we were that invisible.”
So we’re supposed to believe that nobody in the vicinity of this incident recognized the First Lady, simply because she was black? Michelle’s Secret Service detail alone would have drawn attention to her, whether she told them to “stand back” or not. Even if the woman did not recognize Michelle at first (which is hard to believe), she definitely would have realized that the most famous woman in the world at that moment was right in front of her when she was confronted by the First Lady.
Despite this, Michelle claimed that she has “a number of stories like that” in which she was treated like she was invisible despite being internationally famous.
“When I’ve been completely incognito during the eight years in the White House, walking the dogs on the canal, people will come up and pet my dogs, but will not look me in the eye. They don’t know it’s me,” she said. “… That is so telling of how white America views people who are not like them, like we don’t exist. And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that’s exhausting.”
Forgive me for being skeptical, but this just seems like another attempt by Michelle to shame America, which is something of a favorite pastime of hers (and the Democratic Party). Racism is definitely real, but her stories about being hit with racism as First Lady just don’t ring true, especially when you take a step back and think about the logistics of them. Even Michelle herself has previously said that one of the toughest parts of being First Lady is that she could never “blend in” to her surroundings, indicative of fame and its inherent inescapable attention paid by onlookers.
“What Barack and I talk about that we do miss…is the loss of anonymity,” Obama said last year. “And that’s something that most people don’t understand, how valuable anonymity is. Being able to blend into your environment, and not be the center of it, but just to observe it…and because I love people so much, I love casual conversations with people.
“While I loved my time in the car alone with Chipotle, I love what you learn standing in a grocery store line and overhearing someone’s conversation,” she added. “You know, watching their interactions with their loved one. Not being the watched, but watching, and taking that in and understanding life and the observations that come.”
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So which is it, Michelle? Did you constantly feel invisible as a First Lady that faced racism at every turn, or were you never able to blend into your surroundings given your fame? In the end, both these claims can’t be true, and the latter makes far more sense.
This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on August 27, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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