First Lady Michelle Obama took on the issue of race in America during a commencement speech at Alabama’s Tuskegee University.
In her 30-minute speech, Obama spoke to personal experiences of being treated differently because of her race.
“As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations -- conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?” she said.
“Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover -- it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge Afro and machine gun," she continued. "Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I'm really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me."
The First Lady also touched on her role as “mom-in-chief,” saying that it while it “may not be the first thing that some folks want to hear from an Ivy-league educated lawyer,” it is “truly who I am.”
In a message to Tuskegee students, Obama stressed the importance of voting and making their voices heard throughout the political process.
“You’ve got to vote, vote, vote, vote. That’s it,” she said, “that's the way we move forward. That’s how we make progress for ourselves and for our country.”
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