US First Lady Michelle Obama says the United States is an extremely racist country, citing experiences of discrimination at a Target store, and her husband, the President, being mistaken for a waiter at a restaurant.
The first lady related her harrowing visit to a Target store where she was asked by a white woman to get something on the top shelf for her. During that highly publicized trip, Mrs. Obama reports she was in disguise when she was approached by the woman.
“’Excuse me, I just have to ask you something,’” Mrs. Obama relates the woman said. “And I thought ‘oh, cover’s blown.’ But her fellow shopper had something else in mind. “She said, ‘can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’” she told People Magazine in an interview.
After the first lady obligingly handed over the item, she says the woman only retorted: “Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy,” with nary a thank you for the favor.
“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," said the first lady.
Mrs. Obama also remarked that people may think she and the rest of the first family are relatively sheltered from the effects of racism in the country since they’ve been living in the White House for the last six years.
However, on occasion, the first lady does take incognito shopping trips on her own to escape from the stress and pressure of her role as the president’s wife. She says racism does exist, and the United States of America just happens to be a most racist country.
She further related an incident where the president attended a black-tie dinner in a tuxedo and was mistaken as a waiter by another guest who asked him to bring a cup of coffee. And even before he was Commander-in-Chief, President Obama was a simple black man living in Chicago’s South Side who had trouble flagging down a cab because of his color.
Listen to this report on Barack Obama’s racism experiences here:
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