Former first lady Michelle Obama has expressed concern about her daughters enduring racism as they grow into young women, with a heartbreaking admission that as an African-American parent, “the innocent act of getting a licence puts fear in our hearts”.
Sitting down with CBS journalist Gayle King following Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd, Ms Obama said there is still a sense of worry within the community, which for her extends to daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19 as they make their way in the world.
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“We can’t sort of say, ‘Great, that happened, let’s move on,’” Ms Obama said.
“I know that people in the black community don’t feel that way, because many of us still live in fear as we go to the grocery store or worry about walking our dogs or allowing our children to get a licence.”
Touching on her two daughters, she said she can’t help but feel fear whenever they get in the car alone.
“They’re driving, but every time they get in a car by themselves, I worry about what assumption is being made by somebody who doesn’t know everything about them: The fact that they are good students and polite girls, but maybe they’re playing their music a little loud. Maybe somebody sees the back of their head and makes an assumption,” she said.
“The innocent act of getting a licence puts fear in our hearts. So I think we have to talk about it more and we have to ask our fellow citizens to listen a bit more and to believe us and to know that we don’t want to be out there marching.”
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The former first lady has spoken out about systemic racism in the past, posting an impassioned message to Instagram after the death of George Floyd last May.
“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies. And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop,” she wrote.
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with.
“But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.”
Obamas devastated by pet dog’s death
The Obamas are currently mourning the death of their beloved family dog Bo, who died from cancer today.
The former president wrote on Twitter: “Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives – happy to see us on our good days, our bad days and every day in between.
“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table and had great hair.
“He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”