Even as The First Family, the Obamas aren’t immune to racial prejudice. President and First Lady Obama told People magazine about some of the prejudice that they have faced.
The Obamas sat down with People magazine to discuss the racial prejudice that they have faced,
“I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” the first lady told PEOPLE, laughing wryly, along with her husband, at the assumption that the first family has been largely insulated from coming face-to-face with racism.
“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE.
“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. 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.”
As a private citizen President Obama has been mistaken for a valet and waiter. The president also discussed his inability to get a taxi to pick him up. None of the Obamas’ stories are surprising to African-Americans in this country. Racial prejudice is a fact of life. African-Americans, along with every non-white male group, face prejudice every single day. Often the prejudice is slight, but it is there. It doesn’t matter how rich or how powerful a person becomes. Prejudice never completely goes away.
Racial and gender prejudice is a part of American culture. Republicans have successfully used racial prejudice as a weapon against President Obama for years. The sad thing is that it was easy for the president’s political critics to do. No one in this country would have mistaken Hillary Clinton or Laura Bush for a Target employee when they each were First Lady, but this is the sort of prejudice that the Obama has had to deal with daily since they moved into the White House.
No one is completely immune from prejudice, not even, Barack and Michelle Obama.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association