LeadershipBroadsheetDiversity and InclusionCareersVenture Capital

‘We Are Bleeding Every Single Day.’ Michelle Obama Opens Up to Women’s Group About Racist Attacks

July 27, 2017, 1:41 PM UTC
TogetHER with The Women's Foundation of Colorado and Former First Lady Michelle Obama
Jason Bahr 2017 — Getty Images

Former First Lady Michelle Obama knows what it feels like to experience racism.

Speaking at Women’s Foundation of Colorado Tuesday evening, Obama opened up about the racist attacks both she and her family have experienced over the years, specifically citing a time when a former West Virginia official called her an “ape in heels,” Reuters reported.

“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut. I felt how they intended,” she said, referring to the metaphorical shards of glass that came from shattering the glass ceiling when she become the first black First Lady, according to the Denver Post. “Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”

“For underrepresented people to pretend like it doesn’t hurt, it lets those who hurt us off the hook,” she added, according to the New York Daily News.

Obama also said that women “endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” adding that, “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”

Obama avoided speaking about politics during the talk, according to the Denver Post, but did reiterate that she does not plan on running for office.