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Michelle Obama says white America views black women like her as 'invisible'

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'We don't exist'

Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama meets with fans at a book signing on the first anniversary of the launch of her memoir "Becoming" at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Former first lady Michelle Obama said on her podcast Thursday that white America views black people as invisible — unless they're seeing those black people as a threat, according to the New York Post.

Obama recalled times when she was in public and treated with disrespect because when she wasn't surrounded by Secret Service, white people didn't pay her any attention.

"We were stopping to get ice cream, and I had told the Secret Service to stand back because we were trying to be normal, trying to go in," Obama said. "When I'm just a black woman, I notice that white people don't even see me. … I'm standing there with two little black girls, another black female adult, they're in soccer uniforms. And a white woman cuts right in front of us to order. Like, she didn't even see us.

"All she saw was a black person, or a group of black people, or maybe she didn't even see that," Obama concluded. "Because we were that invisible."

Obama also said that white people don't understand how black people feel being dismissed or viewed with hostility by the white people around them. From excerpts courtesy of the Post:

"When I've been completely incognito, during the eight years in the White House, walking the dogs on the canal, people will come up and pet my dogs, but will not look me in the eye. They don't know it's me," the former first lady said in "The Michelle Obama Podcast."

"What white folks don't understand, it's like that is so telling of how white America views people who are not like them. You know, we don't exist. And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that, that's exhausting," Obama continued.

"What the white community doesn't understand about being a person of color in this nation is that there are daily slights, in our workplaces where people talk over you, or people don't even see you," she said in the episode, which also featured pals Danielle Pemberton-Heard, Kelly Dibble and Dr. Sharon Malone.

The former first lady has become arguably more popular since leaving the White House than she was while Barack Obama was president. Her book, "Becoming," has sold more than 10 million copies, and she has the top-ranked podcast on Spotify.

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