Barack and Michelle Obama took to that pages of People Magazine to talk about their personal experiences with racism (The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences). Barack Obama, you know, who lived with communists and convicted terrorists in the dangerous and downtrodden Hyde Park area of Chicago — which Michelle refers to as Southside Chicago — was battered by the evil of racism:
“Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,” Mrs. Obama said in the Dec. 10 interview appearing in the new issue of PEOPLE.
“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” said the president, adding that, yes, it had happened to him.
Mrs. Obama recalled another incident: “He was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”
(I, too, have been the victim of racism in the Chicago suburbs. I went into a big box store in Army Green Class B uniform link to image and an elderly lady approached me and asked me if that was my bus parked outside. True story.)
But the story that has really grabbed the media’s attention is naturally the one told by Michelle:
“I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.”
Things have gotten better, both Obamas agreed, but there’s still more progress to be made.
“The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” President Obama said. “It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.”
At another point, Letterman held up a photo of Mrs. Obama shopping at Target in low-key garb.
“That’s my Target run. I went to Target,” she said. “I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said — I kid you not — she said, ‘Excuse me, I just have to ask you something,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, cover’s blown.’ She said, ‘Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’ I kid you not.”
As the audience laughed, she went on, “And the only thing she said — I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good. … She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up — I was with my assistant, and I said, ‘This is it, it’s over. We’re going to have to leave.’ She just needed the detergent.”
In the original story, a short woman asked her for detergent because, wait for it, she couldn’t reach it. In the second story, a vile racist woman, probably so racist she can’t even acknowledge her own racism, asks her to fetch detergent because she is, presumably, the only black woman bold enough to shop in Target.
Ever since the Obama’s have been in the White House they have gone out of their way to stir racial animus in America. The have succeeded. A majority of Americans see the state of race relations as worse now than under George Bush.
It found that 53 percent of respondents think race relations have gotten worse under the nation’s first black president.
Thirty-six percent say relations have stayed the same, and only 9 percent say they have gotten better.
Among black people, only 45 percent say race relations have gotten worse, though that figure is still the plurality in the poll. Fifty-six percent of white people think the situation has deteriorated.
It is this kind of grandstanding and open and notorious lying that does for actual victims of racism what the Duke Lacrosse case and the UVA gang rape story does for actual rape victims.