Michelle Obama Says White People Fled Her Neighborhood Growing Up

Michelle Obama is opening up about her experience growing up in Chicago.

Michelle Obama talks into a microphone.
Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

Michelle Obama is opening up about her experience growing up in Chicago.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently sat down for a candid interview at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. During the interview, Michelle discussed issues like racism and opened up about her experience growing up on the south side of Chicago. One topic she spoke about was something that she is referring to as “white flight,” which is when white people leave a neighborhood as more African Americans begin to move in, according to The Washington Examiner.

Michelle recalled that she witnessed white people being afraid to live among blacks because they feared what the African American race represented. Even though many black families such as Michelle’s were not involved in any crime and did not pose a threat to the community, still white people felt the need to flee the neighborhood. She compared the fear that was so prevalent in Chicago back then and still exists today to current issues, such as immigration and problems at the southern border. Michelle emphasized that the divide that has occurred within the United States because of differing views of immigration is no different than the fear that she witnessed as a child in her own community. She described this fear as being based solely upon a person’s looks.

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Throughout my years in the White House, I spent a lot of time with our nation’s military caregivers. They’re the people—spouses, parents, siblings, children, and many others—who give so much to care for loved ones who’ve been wounded in service to our country. I can’t tell you how powerful their stories are—these women and men fundamentally changed me. They changed the way I see service and the way I see this country. They’re folks who upend their lives, putting careers on hold and moving across the country. They’re taking on the responsibilities of entire households while learning to care for physical and emotional needs in a new way. They’re simply incredible, and over these past few years, my hope was to help give a little something back to those who’ve given our country so much. That’s why I’m so thankful for the work that the @elizabethdolefoundation does every day to celebrate and support our nation’s caregivers—and it’s why I hope you’ll find a way to do the same in your community.

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“As we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented. I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us… This family, with all the values that you read about, you were running from us. And you’re still running because we’re no different than the immigrant families that are moving in. The families that are coming from other places to try to do better. But, because we can so easily wash over who we really were — because of the color of our skin, because of the texture of our hair — that’s what divides countries, artificial things.”

Michelle further discusses issues like this as well as additional recounts of experiences from her childhood in her book, Becoming. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Michelle’s memoir was released in November of 2018, with well over 10 million copies having been sold. The book is largely based upon her time living in the White House, but it doesn’t shy away from more private topics such as her marriage to the 44th president, Barack Obama, her time at Harvard, plus family topics. She even reveals that she and Barack once went to marriage counseling in order to resolve problems within their relationship.

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