Former first lady Michelle Obama said on her podcast Thursday that she often feels “invisible” to White people when she’s out in public.
During a discussion on race with her friends Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Kelly Dibble and Dr. Sharon Malone, Mrs. Obama lamented that there’s a sense of “fatigue with being Black in America.”
“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,” she said on “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify.
Mrs. Obama recalled an instance when she was still first lady and she and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Ms. Pemberton-Heard went out for ice cream after a soccer game. She said the Secret Service had waited for them outside because they “were trying to be normal” for a moment.
“When I’m just a Black woman, I notice that White people don’t even see me,” she said. “They’re not even looking at me. 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.
“The girl behind the counter almost took her order,” she continued. “So I stepped up and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ I said, ‘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,” she continued. “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. I can tell you a number of stories like that, 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.
“What White folks don’t understand is like, that is so telling of how White America views people who are not like them,” she added. “We don’t exist. And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that’s exhausting.”
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.