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. According to the Washington Times.
“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.”
“That is so telling of how white America views people who are not like them, like we don’t exist.f And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that’s exhausting.”
“We had just finished taking the girls to a soccer game. We were stopping to get ice cream and I had told the Secret Service to stand back, because we were trying to be normal, trying to go in,” Obama recalled.
“There was a line, and… when I’m just a black woman, I notice that white people don’t even see me. 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 former first lady continued.
“The girl behind the counter almost took her order. And I had to stand up ’cause I know Denielle was like, ‘Well, I’m not gonna cause a scene with Michelle Obama.’ So I stepped up and I said, ‘Excuse me? 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. 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.”