Michelle Obama has opened up about her painful experiences of racism when she was First Lady

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  • 'She 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.’

    She might not live in the White House anymore, but that hasn’t stopped former First Lady Michelle Obama inspiring us on the regular.

    In fact, she’s our go-to girl when it comes to pep talks and calling out injustice.

    The world was relieved therefore when she launched her own podcast, dishing out endless advice and inspiration and calling out issues that we need to be having bigger conversations about.

    This week, the former First Lady made news as she opened up about her experience with racism on The Michelle Obama Podcast, recalling an incident that took place when she was First Lady.

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    For so many of us, our friendships have been absolutely critical in helping us get through our toughest days and celebrate our highest highs. And this week on the #MichelleObamaPodcast, I’m talking to a few of my girlfriends: Sharon Malone, Denielle Pemberton-Heard, and Kelly Dibble. Our conversation is a pretty good window into what I love about these ladies. We can reminisce, laugh at each other’s stories, and most of all, we can talk about what’s going on in the world or in our own lives. And with everything that’s been going on over these past few months, it’s been especially crucial for us as women of color to have friends to lean on—a group we can sort through it all together. But to me, this episode isn’t just about my friendships. It’s about yours. It’s about the old friend from school who’s been a confidante for every crucial moment of your life. It’s about the girls who cheered you on during the good times or gave you a shoulder to lean on when times were tough. It’s about the people who know you and support you like no one else. I hope that after listening to this episode, you’ll reach out to them and let them know how much they mean to you. Click the link in my bio to hear this week’s episode with my girlfriends.

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    Talking with friends Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Dr. Sharon Malone and Kelly Dibble, Michelle recalled the incident, which took place when she took her daughters Sasha and Malia to get ice cream at a Haagen-Dazs shop.

    ‘We had just finished taking the girls to a soccer game,’ Michelle recalled. ‘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. There was a line, and once again, when I’m just a Black woman, I notice that white people don’t even see me. They’re not even looking at me.’

    She continued: ‘So 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.

    ‘So I stepped up, and I said, “Excuse me?” I was like, “You don’t see us four people standing right here, you just jumped in line?” She 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.

    ‘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.’

    The latest Michelle Obama podcast episode is out now.

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