Michelle Obama gave a powerful commencement speech when she spoke to students at the historically black Tuskegee University in Alabama.
“The road ahead won't be easy. It never is for folks like you and me,” Mrs. Obama said.
She said that she is treated differently from other first ladies.
“Over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited 'a little bit of uppity-ism.' Another noted that I was one of my husband's 'cronies of color.' Cable news once charmingly referred to me as 'Obama’s baby mama,’ “she said.
The first lady said she lost sleep worrying what people thought of her and singled out a controversial New Yorker cover from 2008 which showed her as a terrorist as especially hurtful.
“The first time I was on a magazine cover it was a cartoon of me in a huge afro with a machine gun. That really knocked me back a bit,” she said.
And said she was even mistaken for the help, saying, “The people at formal events who assumed we were the help and even questioned our intelligence, our honesty and even our love of this country!”
But the message for the students was one of resilience in the face of racism.
She declared, “To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose!”
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