After some well-deserved R&R, our former first lady has made her official return to inspire and empower us all with her words. During the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th anniversary celebration, Michelle Obama talked about the racism she has faced, and continues to face, as the country’s first black first lady.
When WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel commented that Obama broke a glass ceiling by becoming the first black woman to hold her position, she followed up by asking which of the falling glass shards cut the deepest.
According to The Denver Post, Mrs. Obama said,
While she is still committed to going high when others go low, Obama said she can no longer pretend the comments don’t affect her. She then alluded to a Facebook post by a West Virginia county employee that called her an “ape in heels.” The former first lady said just ignoring or brushing off the hurtful words completely discounts the real hurt that racism and sexism cause while letting the perpetrators off the hook.
And ever the champion of female empowerment, she noted the importance of sharing her struggles with racism and the obstacles she has overcome in order to let other women and girls know, they too, can rise above it.
It breaks our hearts to know that despite her many accomplishments and eight years as the nation’s First Lady, Michelle Obama is still judged by the color of her skin. Unfortunately, this isn’t a rarity, we’re constantly being reminded that post-racial America is by no means a reality.
However, as always, we remain both hopeful and inspired by Mrs. Obama’s words.