Michelle Obama Addresses Racism She Faced as First Lady

It was her first public appearance since leaving the White House.

July 26, 2017 12:45 pm
Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Michelle Obama gets surprisingly frank in her upcoming memoir. (Jason Bahr/Getty Images for The Women's Foundation of Colorado)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out Tuesday night about the offensive and racist remarks she endured during her tenure as the first African American first lady, the Denver Post reports.

“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” Obama reportedly told a crowd of 8,500 at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th anniversary event in Denver. “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.”

Recorded incidents of racially-charged rhetoric slung at Obama are extensive. In November 2016, a West Virginia mayor was forced to resign after she and a nonprofit director referred to Obama as an “ape in heels” in a Facebook post. Another city mayor made similar remarks in 2015, calling Obama “gorilla face.” In 2008, Fox News apologized, saying a producer used “poor judgment” in characterizing Michelle as then-Senator Obama’s “baby mama.”

Still, Obama noted during her remarks that, despite these criticisms, she believes that the United States is full of “universally good people.”

“The people in this country are universally good and kind and honest and decent,” she reportedly told the crowd. “Don’t be afraid of the country you live in. The folks here are good.”

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