Michelle Obama just made the largest public appearance since the 2016 election. She spoke to more than 8,000 people at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th-anniversary celebration. The former first lady was lauded by the moderator for her achievements over the past eight years and also spoke to her about her future plans.
The conversation took a turn and moved into what some are saying is uncomfortable territory. Michelle talked about personal attacks that she faced, again and again, many with the same theme.
“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” Obama said, according to the Denver Post. “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.”
Michelle maintained that she wouldn’t pretend that the attacks didn’t hurt because that would give the perpetrators who inflicted the pain a pass.
“We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up,” she said.
During Michelle Obama’s tenure as First Lady, she faced repeated and subtle criticisms that could have been directed at her race. She was called an “atrocity” who was not classy enough. The Washington state mayor said that she had a “gorilla face.” And Fox News stated that she was former President Barack Obama’s “baby mama,” as opposed to his wife and the mother of his children. Michelle was criticized for doing pushups and for wearing shorts. A director of a nonprofit from West Virginia drew national scorn after calling her an “ape in heels,” as she referenced the shift to Melania Trump as the First Lady.
“It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady back in the White House,” she wrote. “I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
The director lost her job after an online petition went viral logging more than 200,000 signatures.
Michelle Obama took the opportunity speaking to so many women to go high when others have gone low. She told the audience that she is “a strong woman because of other strong woman. You don’t mother alone, you don’t grandparent alone, you don’t struggle alone. You find your community.”
And she stressed the need to be an uplifting force in girls’ lives — and to shower them with positive messages.
“Tell her every day she is smart and capable and lift her up,” Obama said. “For so many people, the role models they follow are right in their backyard. It’s their mothers, teachers, siblings, and their fathers and the men around them who every day can lift them up. Don’t underestimate the power of day-to-day motivation and inspiration in a girl’s life.”
What do you think about Michelle Obama’s direct message regarding the criticism she faced?
Credit: Washington Post