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Michelle Obama opens up about her experience with racism as first lady

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Michelle Obama is sharing her “exhausting” experience with racism as a Black woman in America, both in and out of the White House.

On the latest episode of The Michelle Obama podcast, the former first lady, joined by her longtime friends Kelly DibbleDenielle Pemberton-Heard and Dr. Sharon Malone, discussed the recent bird-watching incident in Central Park where a white woman falsely accused a Black man of harassing her.

“That incident in Central Park, which infuriated all of us, as we watched it, it was not unfamiliar,” Obama said. “I mean, this is 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.”

Obama said that during her time as first lady, she had “a number of stories” where white people treated her like she was invisible.

“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 recalled, later adding, “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.”

Thankfully, Mrs. Obama says, she has a group of good friends who she says “gets it.”

“There’s a certain relief that comes when you don’t have to walk into your friend group and explain yourself,” she said. “My group of female friends aren’t calling me to say, ‘What can I do?’ You guys are calling me to say, ‘How you doin’ girl?’ You know, ‘let’s talk.’

By Candice Williams
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