Michelle Obama explains being ignored by ‘white America’ when incognito as ‘just a black woman’

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Former first lady and multi-millionaire Michelle Obama complained again about racism during her podcast on Thursday, claiming “white America” behaves as though black women do not exist.

“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,” Obama said, which seems unlikely since she wouldn’t have been without a Secret Service escort nearby.

“What white folks don’t understand, it’s like that is so telling of how white America views people who are not like them. You know, we don’t exist. And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that, that’s exhausting,” she continued.

“What the white community doesn’t understand about being a person of color in this nation is that there are daily slights, in our workplaces where people talk over you, or people don’t even see you,” the former first lady continued during a panel discussion with friends Danielle Pemberton-Heard, Kelly Dibble and Dr. Sharon Malone.

Obama then shared a story of going with Pemberton-Heard and daughters Sasha and Malia to get some ice cream following a soccer game when she was still the first lady.

“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 claimed.

“When I’m just a black woman, I notice that white people don’t even see me. … 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, offering no evidence that the alleged impolite act was due to racism.

“The girl behind the counter almost took her order. And I had to stand up because I know [Pemberton-Heard] was like, ‘Well, I’m not gonna cause a scene with Michelle Obama,’” she added. “So I stepped up and I said, ‘Excuse me? You don’t see us four people standing right here, you just jumped in line?’”

The podcast host then said the woman “didn’t apologize, she never looked me in my eye, she didn’t know it was me. 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.”

It’s unclear how Obama could have known the woman’s intentions and motivations; it could just be that the woman in question was naturally rude and that race had nothing to do with her behavior or actions.

In any event, this isn’t the first time Obama and her president husband have complained about white people and racism in general, despite what whites have very likely done for them throughout their professional and political careers, including helping to deliver them two terms in the Oval Office.

Early in her husband’s first campaign, she was ripped after saying, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

“But a lot of voters did and will wonder: how could someone who graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School and won a job at a high-paying Chicago law firm—who was in some way a beneficiary of affirmative action—sound so alienated from her country?” Newsweek’s Evan Thomas wrote at the time.

Since they left the White House, the Obama’s have become fabulously wealthy, amassing some $40 million through book deals, speaking engagements, and a lucrative production deal with Netflix.

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Jon Dougherty

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