In a special interview with People, Barack and Michelle Obama opened up about their lives and how racism has affected even them too.
“I think people forget that we've lived in the White House for six years,” Michelle said. “Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”
While the Obamas’ encounters with race haven’t placed them in mortal danger in the same way as happened to Michael Brown and Eric Garner, they still vividly recall times where Barack was mistaken for a valet or waiter and Michelle for a Target employee. “The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” said the President. “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.”
The Obamas’ decision to chime in on the national conversation about race will hopefully help move the dialogue forward towards some meaningful change. In this unique period in our history, it’s an encouraging sign to see our leader actively getting himself into the mix.