Michelle Obama spoke before a gathering of 8,500 Tuesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. She recounted the negativity that was all too often thrown her way during her time as America’s first lady.
She described the psychic pain she was forced to endure due to eight years of racial insults directed her way. The insults included innumerable references to her as an ape and constant disparaging comments about her physical appearance and body parts.
Mrs. Obama, who was a paragon of class and an exemplary first lady, still managed to be on the receiving end of countless derogatory comments. If nothing else, the often hateful reception she received as first lady served to shine a light on how far the country still has to go on issues of race.
Asked about being the first African-American first lady, breaking a long-existing glass ceiling, Mrs. Obama eloquently explained, “The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut.” She added, “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.”
Watch the Newsy video on Michelle Obama’s Pepsi Center appearance:
Relating her experiences to the topic of the evening, women’s empowerment, Obama said that those insults and trying times she endured while in the White House were similar to those other women must endure, and that those experiences could in turn be used as teaching tools for young girls.
As Obama pointed out, “Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut.” She added, “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
Despite the challenges faced by women and people of color in America, the ever hopeful Obama reminded the audience, “The people in this country are universally good and kind and honest and decent.”
She urged the assembled, “Don’t be afraid of the country you live in. The folks here are good.”
Classy, eloquent, hopeful. Michelle Obama was a shining light as America’s beloved first lady, and her light continues to shine bright.