A divisive speech Michelle Obama gave Tuesday night is causing a stir, even among some supporters who believe her racially-charged rhetoric went too far, even saying at one point: “‘I can’t make people not afraid of black people.”
Michelle Obama says when her family – and other black families – moved to the South Side of Chicago, it was her first experience of ‘white flight’.
The former first lady spoke about her childhood and her life’s work at the the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago on Tuesday. She has compared her experience to what immigrant families in America now face daily.
She said she wanted to remind white people that they were running from ‘us’, and that they’re still running.
‘As families like ours — upstanding families like ours who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better. As we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented,’ she said.
‘I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world because I want to remind white folks, ya’ll were running from us. This family. This family with all the values you read about, you were running from us.’
The 55-year-old added that her family was no different to immigrant families making a home for themselves in the US – and in particular, she referenced the area of Pilsen in Chicago, where a large number of Mexican immigrants have been settling in.