Appearing on “Late Show” with David Letterman in 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama also told the story of how a woman once asked her for help getting something off a shelf. It’s the same story she told in a recent interview with People magazine, in which she seemingly suggested race played a role in the woman’s solicitation of her assistance.
However, her story seemingly lacked the racial undertones when she told it to Letterman last year.
“I went to Target. I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though,” she said. “No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right, I was in the detergent isle and she said — I kid you not — she said, ‘excuse me, I just have to ask you something.’ And I thought, ‘cover’s blown.’ She said, ‘Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’ I kid you not!”
Then she added some context.
“And the only thing she said — I reached up because she was short — and I reached up and pulled it down and she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was interaction, I feel so good. She had no idea who I was.”
Watch the relevant portion at 4:40 the mark below:
In her recent interview with People, after pointing out that her husband, President Barack Obama, was once a “black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago” and “had his share of trouble catching cabs,” the first lady explained how instances of subtle racism are not "anything new."
“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,” she said in the recent interview.