White Americans are running away from blacks and immigrants when they leave inner cities behind, according to former first lady Michelle Obama.
“I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us. And you’re still running,” she said on Oct. 29 during a speech at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. She noted that white citizens do the same with new immigrant populations that move into formerly whites-only neighborhoods and communities.
She said that when, as a child, she and other black families moved into Chicago’s South Side, “We were doing everything we were supposed to do — and better. But when we moved in, white families moved out.”
During her presentation at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Obama said there was no reason for white families to leave, and blamed them for the subsequent decay of the neighborhood.
“There were no gang fights, there were no territorial battles. Yet one by one, they packed their bags and they ran from us. And they left communities in shambles,” she said.
“I can’t make people not afraid of black people. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t explain what’s happening in your head,” she said.
She also affirmed that the issue of discrimination exists because of a defect in white people and that it was up to black Americans to overcome that.
“[W]e can’t do it for them, because they’re broken. Their brokenness in how they see us is a reflection of this brokenness. And you can’t fix that. All you can do is the work,” she said.
Some pushed back at her on Twitter.
Michelle Obama says white people are afraid of black people… but if that’s true, then how did her husband end up as President of the United States? 🤔https://t.co/a6dpjrQQyS
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) October 29, 2019
Michelle Obama claims that white people are “still running” from black people and immigrants by moving out of diverse neighborhoods.
The Obamas live in an $8 million mansion in Kalorama, DC which is 83% white and just 3.8% black.https://t.co/H6bm2wEMUn
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) October 30, 2019
I don’t know anyone who is “afraid of black people”, not as a kid & not now. This is a racist statement & meant to create racial divides just like @TheDemocrats worked to maintain in the 60s: @MichelleObama: ‘I can’t make people not afraid of black people’ https://t.co/QOHlqtkzVS
— Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) October 30, 2019
The former first lady said that some had the temerity to doubt her.
“As people doubted us coming through — ‘Are you Princeton material? Can you really make the grade?’ Can you cut it?’ — what do you do in those instances? All you can do is put your head down and do the work and let the work, your truth, speak for itself,” she said, according to The Hill.
She said that her mission is to live such a blameless life that discrimination will fade away in the minds of all of the people with whom she deals.
“But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, doing wonderful things, loving my family, loving our kids, taking care of things that I care about — maybe, just maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of our discrimination. Maybe that will slowly unravel it,” she said.
She said that the Obama era gave America the opportunity to see what she called the reality of black citizens.
“Being the first black first family gave America and the world [the chance] to see the truth of who we are as black people, as others. That we are just as, and often times better than, many of the people who doubt us. But our stories don’t get told,” she said.