We adored Michelle Obama’s style, elegance, and always on point hair for eight years, but the former First Lady recently shared that not everyone in America loved her as much as we did.
During an armchair chat at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th anniversary celebration, Mrs. Obama revealed that although she had shattered a glass ceiling in becoming the nation’s first African American first lady, there were some shards that cut her deeply.
“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she told WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel and the thousands of women gathered to hear her speak at the Pepsi Center in Denver. “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.”
She spoke about the pain of being called an “ape in heels” by a West Virginia official and being told she had a “gorilla face” by a local Washington mayor–but acknowledged that they should be held accountable for their actions. “For underrepresented people to pretend like it doesn’t hurt, it lets those who hurt us off the hook,” she added, according to the New York Daily News.
Mrs. Obama also touched on our strength to endure as women.
“Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” she said. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
While she confirmed she won’t be running for office, her impact on millions of women is clear.
“Michelle is a rarity in today’s society,” Mattye Crowley, one of the event’s 8,300 attendees told CNN “We have witnessed for over eight years people picked and tormented her every move, and she stayed true to herself.”
Are you surprised my former First Lady Michelle Obama’s experience? What are some moments that you’ve had to deal with racism in the workplace? How did you overcome them?