Michelle & Barack Obama Talk Racial Profiling

“I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years. Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs … 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.” 

Barack and Michelle Obama spoke to People about the racial profiling they experience, despite assumptions that the presidency somehow makes the couple immune to racism. Michelle also recalled an instance in which Barack “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”

President Obama added:

“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…The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced…It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.”

In light of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and countless other Black Americans who lost their lives at the hands of police, the Obamas’ experiences serve as one more reminder that this country has a long way to go before reaching any semblance of racial equality. [People] [Image via Getty]