Obamas say they're no strangers to racism
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President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaShould there be a 'Secretary of Thought'? Obamas to attend Biden inauguration Michelle Obama slams Trump, rioters at Capitol: 'They desecrated the center of American government' MORE say in a new interview that they’ve experienced racial prejudice in their lives.


The president and the first lady chronicled a series of experiences in People magazine that they say demonstrated some of the latent racism that blacks in America continue to face.

"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," the president said.

Questions about American race relations have been renewed in recent weeks after the deaths of Ferguson, Mo., teenager Michael Brown and Staten Island resident Eric Garner. Both were unarmed black men killed during interactions with white police officers, neither of whom will face criminal charges.

The first lady said someone had asked her husband to get them coffee because he was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and he “had his share of troubles catching cabs” when they lived in Chicago.

"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,” she said. “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."

Still, the first couple said despite their experiences — and the work left to be done — they both recognized race relations had improved.

"The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced," the president 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."