With racial tensions at a fever pitch in the wake of grand-jury decisions in Ferguson and New York City, the president and first lady took a moment to lament their own experiences of racial oppression.
On Wednesday, People published a teaser of an upcoming interview with the first couple: “The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences.”
Sample incident, per Michelle:
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.
So according to FLOTUS, this vertically limited fellow shopper requested her help solely on account of her race — not because, say, Michelle Obama looked like a friendly gal who might be willing to help. Or because she was tall and nearby.
(Also, is there not a potential classist sniff, there at the beginning? “Even as the first lady”! It might well be that the shopper in question did not know who she was, or — because this is America, not Bourbon France — simply did not care. Vive la république, right?)
As for Barack:
“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” said the president, adding that, yes, it had happened to him.
You know who else was mistaken for a valet?
It must be dreary, seeing the world in only two colors.