by G. Brown
Former First Lady Michelle Obama took an opportunity to talk about the racism she endured for the eight years her husband ran the country as the first Black President. Mrs. Obama shared her thoughts during the 30th anniversary event for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
The attacks were often painful and many of them very public like the time a West Virginia county employee took to Facebook to praise the incoming Melania Trump as a First Lady of “beauty” and “class” and compared Obama to an ape.
That horrendous post was made by Pam Taylor. The post prompted then Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling to chime in “Just made my day Pam.” The post and comments caused such an uproar that an online petition with more than 200,000 supporters was started. Both women ended up losing their jobs.
And there was other hateful proganda smear campaigns like YouTubers who insisted that Michelle Obama was a man or a tranny and that former President Obama was gay. The rumor seemed to have taken off after deceased comedian Joan Rivers made some wisecrack about everybody knows she (Michelle Obama) is a tranny. Michelle Obama was criticized for everything she did and didn’t do. Mrs. Obama was aware of all the slander, lies and hurtful comments. She said, “The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut, Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”
Even with the constant barbs of addled-minded racist who sought to destroy her, Michelle Obama left the White House as one of the most respected and influential First Ladies ever. Ranker.com ( a site that ranks everything from best movie quotes to worst potato chip flavors) according to the votes of the people lists Mrs. Obama as #8 on its lists of “most loved first ladies. She’s ahead of Barbara Bush, Lady Bird Johnson, Rosalyn Carter and Hillary Clinton.
A New York College (Siena College Research Institute) that graded the former first ladies based on categories like “value to the country”, “leadership”, courage” and “accomplishments” graded Mrs. Obama a 75.92 with the highest grade of 84.08 given to Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Obama ranked 5th in that study of First Ladies. Why such glowing reports about Mrs. Obama? Because of all that she accomplished during her tenure. She focused on women’s issues including launching “Let Girls Learn” a global campaign to insure girls receive equal educational opportunities. Mrs. Obama came up with the “Joining Forces” program to support veterans and service members through wellness and employment opportunities.
But no program left more of an indelible footprint than Mrs. Obama ‘s “Let’s Move!”. During her husband’s first term, Michelle launched the program that brought parents, educators and medical experts together to fight childhood obesity. The “Let’s Move!” effort pushed for healthier food in public schools, to get kids off the computer and outside to be more active and challenged companies to offer healthier food options for kids. In the same year she launched the initiative, Mrs. Obama teamed up with bipartisan support to pass The School Lunch Program to provide healthier free and reduced-price meals to more than 21-million students from low-income homes.
In her personal life, Michelle graduated magna cum laude from Princeton before going on to attain a law degree. She has worked in corporate law, public service and is a published author. Most would consider her an IRL(in real life) version of wonder woman except for that one glaring, unforgivable flaw of having Black skin. In comparison, can you tell me anything that the current first lady stands for…I’ll wait.
The double standard of racism is still cutting into our reality. Remember the big controversy over Michelle Obama’s muscular arms. People complained that Mrs. Obama without remorse, had the audacity to show her arms in public by wearing sleeveless outfits. In comparison, the current first lady posed for erotic, semi-nude cover shoots and the religious right declared it the beauty of God’s creation.
To most Blacks and people of color, Mrs. Obama didn’t reveal any earth shattering news by talking about the racism she endured while in the White House. We are already aware of what’s out there. A few people like actor Morgan Freeman and rapper Lil’ Wayne cite their success as proof that racism no longer exists. Even in the height of slavery, some Blacks believed that ‘massa’ was kind and cared about them.
The White House years may be behind them, but the racism isn’t. Now that discrimination and prejudiced are being encouraged by the current administration, racism is seemingly the new/old normal.