Barack and Michelle Obama took to that pages of People Magazine to talk about their personal experiences with racism (The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences). Barack Obama, you know, who lived with communists and convicted terrorists in the dangerous and downtrodden Hyde Park area of Chicago — which Michelle refers to as Southside Chicago — was battered by the evil of racism:
“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE.
“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,” said the president, adding that, yes, it had happened to him.
Mrs. Obama recalled another incident: “He was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”
(I, too, have been the victim of racism in the Chicago suburbs. I went into a big box store in Army Green Class B uniform link to image and an elderly lady approached me and asked me if that was my bus parked outside. True story.)
But the story that has really grabbed the media’s attention is naturally the one told by Michelle:
“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.”
Things have gotten better, both Obamas agreed, but there’s still more progress to be made.
“The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” President Obama said. “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.”
As it turns out, Michelle has told this story before. She appeared on the …read more