Posted on October 29, 2019

Michelle Obama: ‘I Can’t Make People Not Afraid of Black People’

Judy Kurtz, The Hill, October 29, 2019

Michelle Obama says she “can’t make people not afraid of black people,” but can “pick away at the scabs of discrimination” through her life’s work.

“As people doubted us coming through — ‘Are you Princeton material? Can you really make the grade?’ Can you cut it?’ — what do you do in those instances? All you can do is put your head down and do the work and let the work, your truth, speak for itself,” the former first lady said Tuesday at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.

“I can’t make people not afraid of black people. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t explain what’s happening in your head,” Obama, 55, continued.

“But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, doing wonderful things, loving my family, loving our kids, taking care of things that I care about — maybe, just maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of our discrimination. Maybe that will slowly unravel it.

“That’s all we have,” Obama said to applause. “Because we can’t do it for them, because they’re broken. Their brokenness in how they see us is a reflection of this brokenness. And you can’t fix that. All you can do is the work.”