Michelle Obama’s Example of Racism in America: I Was Asked to Get Something Off the Shelf at Target

First lady Michelle Obama said a woman asked her for help getting something off a shelf at Target, describing racial experiences she’s had.

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

She said, “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.”

First lady Michelle Obama, wearing a hat and sunglasses, stands in line at a Target department store in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011, after doing some shopping.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
First lady Michelle Obama took a shopping trip to Target in September 2011. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

The Obamas spoke to the magazine amid stirred racial tensions following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The president told People: “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 first lady also recalled an incident when Obama was “wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”

But, the president said, “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,” he said. “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.”

(H/T: Weekly Standard)
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