Despite (or perhaps because of) the grace, intelligence and character Michelle Obama exuded while serving as the first lady, aggressive trolls, bogus pundits and entire media outlets refused to let her flourish. Throughout her husband's two-term presidency, Obama faced a barrage of racist insults. Still, through all the racist attacks and attempts to undermine her, Mrs. Obama was the epitome of class.
But, don't get it twisted, as magical as she is Mrs. Obama is still human. She heard the comments and felt the shade. Like the rest of us, she understands the distinct kind of hurt that comes with racism. She knows the cutting experience of being dismissed despite having an unblemished reputation and reduced to caricature in spite of all her accomplishments.
In a talk given before the Women’s Foundation of Colorado at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Tuesday, the former First Lady spoke to this experience before an audience of 8,500. Obama said she can’t pretend like it doesn’t hurt because that lets those who do the hurting off the hook. “Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” she said. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.” Obama encouraged women to own their scars. "If women own their scars, they can encourage younger girls who are getting their first cuts," she proclaimed.
When asked by WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel, which of the falling glass shards cut the deepest when smashing the glass ceiling, Obama referenced the racist attacks she endured while in The White House, saying, "The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut. 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.” She went on to say that while those wounds hurt deeply, they heal with time.
We see you Mrs. Obama. That's our first lady!