Michelle Obama Says Racist Attacks Like Being Called an Ape 'Cut the Deepest' as First Lady

DENVER, CO - JULY 25:  Former First Lady Michelle Obama speaks, emphasizing that women must celebrate their strength, during a live conversation with The Women's Foundation of Colorado President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel at Pepsi Center on July 25, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jason Bahr/Getty Images for The Women's Foundation of Colorado)

Michelle Obama Says Racist Attacks Like Being Called an Ape 'Cut the Deepest' as First Lady

“There are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”

Published July 26, 2017

At the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th anniversary event in Denver, Michelle Obama opened up about the hardship she faced as a Black first lady. 

During the Tuesday event at the Pepsi Center, the former first lady spoke with Women's Foundation of Colorado President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel in front of 8,500 people about breaking the glass ceiling, reported the Denver Post.

Casteel said Obama broke a glass ceiling by becoming the first Black first lady and then went on to ask which of the falling shards cut deepest.

“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she said, referencing being called an ape and people talking about her bottom. “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.”

Obama then said she can’t hide her scars because people who try to hurt others need to know that it does not stop them from persevering.  

“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.”

Obama’s words also encouraged women, particularly young women, not to be afraid of the scars they receive in life, and do not be afraid to share them.

She also warned Americans about giving into the idea that the entire nation is crippling and falling apart. She said, we should instead learn from the country’s mistakes and successes.  Instead she said it’s a young country that will learn from its mistakes and successes.

“The people in this country are universally good and kind and honest and decent,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of the country you live in. The folks here are good.”

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Jason Bahr/Getty Images for The Women's Foundation of Colorado)

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