Michelle Obama gave a candid view Saturday of the challenges and emotional toll of being the country’s first black first lady.
Obama, speaking to graduates at Tuskegee University in Alabama, described insensitive media questions and derogatory remarks from political pundits that she said have kept her up at night.
“You might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a ‘terrorist fist jab,’ ” she said.
“And 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.’ ”
Obama said she was subjected to a different set of expectations on the campaign trail in 2008 compared with other candidates’ wives.
“ ‘What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on?’ … The truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse,” she said.
“But, 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?”