Michelle Obama sat down with journalist Isabel Wilkerson on Tuesday to discuss – among other things – “white flight” and how she believes that white people are “still running” from minorities and specifically people of color.
During the interview, which was also attended by Obama’s brother New York Knicks executive Craig Robinson, the former first lady described when she first became aware of “white flight,” or white people fleeing neighborhoods as racial minorities move in.
“We were doing everything we were supposed to do – and better,” Obama recalled of her family’s move to Chicago’s South Side. “But when we moved in, white families moved out.”
That’s when she went on to skewer white people for “running” from minorities.
“I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us,” she said. “And you’re still running.”
She goes on to admit that the concept of discrimination is completely foreign to her, though repeated jabs at white people would suggest a different story to some.
“I can’t make people not afraid of black people,” she lamented. “I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t explain what’s happening in your head. But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, doing wonderful things, loving my family, loving our kids, taking care of things that I care about — maybe, just maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of our discrimination. Maybe that will slowly unravel it.”
She would go on to complain about how race played a role in her academic career as well, causing people to doubt whether she was cut out to attend an elite school such as Princeton University.
“As people doubted us coming through — ‘Are you Princeton material? Can you really make the grade?’ Can you cut it?’ — What do you do in those instances?” Obama asked rhetorically. “All you can do is put your head down and do the work and let the work, your truth, speak for itself.”
But Michelle Obama is no stranger to playing the race card.
In July 2017, she attended the Women’s Foundation of Colorado where the accused people of not being able to see her FLOTUS accomplishments due to her skin color.
“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she remembered. “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.” (This would be the same country that she was in due to the election of her husband.)
It’s also worth noting that she called the White House “a house built by slaves,” discussed how “people try to define [people of color] in a negative way,” and dismissed the Republican Party as “all men, all white.”
Knowing that, these recent comments should come as no surprise. Eventually, Obama is going to find that the race card doesn’t hold the weight that it used to.
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