Michelle Obama has been an inspiration to women of color, and all women for that matter, the minute she took her place as first lady. Now that her time in The White House is over, Obama is finally speaking about the racism she faced even as the first lady. It’s her way of encouraging women to defy such setbacks and push towards their goals.
Obama spoke in front of 8,500 people in Denver, Colorado. She was praised for breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the first black first lady. Despite shattering the glass, Obama still suffered cuts.
She was asked what hurt the most and said: “The ones that intended to cut.” Obama was referring to the recent incident where she was called an “ape in heels.” But she also said that it hurt her when she wasn’t taken seriously because of her skin color.
“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 said. “Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even know we’re cut,” she is quoted as saying in the Denver Post. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
It wouldn’t have been a signature Obama speech if the former first lady didn’t address young girls and what they need. Obama spoke about the importance of education for girls. She also addressed another important topic — that of proper nutrition for schoolchildren.
The right education for girls starts with a word of encouragement, Obama believes. “If we want girls in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), we need to rethink how we deliver education. Teachers, a kind word can mean the world to a young girl,” she said.
Obama has worked hard to inspire students and to better the nutritional value of school lunches. Accordingly, when Trump’s administration reversed regulations on the improvement of school lunches, Obama could not stay quiet. It was a rare moment where the former first lady openly criticized the new administration.
At the conference, Obama also spoke about her husband’s presidential days. About his campaign slogan, she said: “It was never ‘yes he can’; it was ‘yes we can’,” she said. “When we put so much on a person, on a leader, we absolve ourselves of doing anything else. We’re all on a journey together … We all want someone who will fix things, but we’re going to have to fix it together.”