Last night, Michelle Obama addressed a crowd of Denver women to admit publicly, for the first time, how hurtful it was to be the frequent target of racism as First Lady.
In her eight years as First Lady, Obama frequently struck a chord for her poise, humor, and outspokenness on issues of women’s health, education, and empowerment. All of these Michelle Obama trademarks were on display last night, in front of the audience of 8,500 people gathered to commemorate the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th anniversary.
But Obama showed a more vulnerable side too. The Denver Post reports that when asked by WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel about which “falling glass shards” cut her the deepest after breaking the glass ceiling of becoming the country’s first black First Lady, Obama gave a solemn — and heartbreakingly honest — reply.
“The shards that cut me deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she replied, and went on to reference some of the racist slurs that her critics lobbed at her over her eight years in the White House, including (disgusting, unacceptable) comparisons to an ape. “Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”
Obama admitted that these jabs still hurt her to this day, and extended her experience to all women.
“Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” she said. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
If you’re not sobbing yet, Obama also encouraged audience members to not be discouraged by the current political climate in the most Michelle Obama way imaginable:
“The people in this country are universally good and kind and decent. Don’t be afraid of the country you live in. The folks here are good.”
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(Photo via Kevin Winter/ Getty)