Michelle Obama recently spoke with Gayle King about how the fallout from the guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder case has affected how the former first lady and her family view racism.
“We can’t sort of say, ‘Great, that happened, let’s move on,’ ” Obama said to King on “CBS This Morning” about her feelings following the news of the guilty verdict Derek Chauvin received in the George Floyd murder trial. “I know that people in the Black community don’t feel that way because many of us still live in fear as we go to the grocery store or worry about walking our dogs or allowing our children to get a license.”
“They’re driving, but I worry about what assumption is being made by somebody who doesn’t know everything about them — the fact that they are good students and polite girls, but maybe they’re playing their music a little loud,” Obama said. “Maybe somebody sees the back of their head and makes an assumption.”
“I, like so many parents of Black kids… the innocent act of getting a license puts fear in our hearts,” she added. “So I think we have to talk about it more and we have to ask our fellow citizens to listen a bit more and to believe us and to know that we don’t want to be out there marching.”
“As the mother of two black teenagers whose daughter is 18 and drives and her 13-year-old rides along with her, I feel her fear,” Ryan said.
She added, “The first lady, the former first lady is talking about implicit bias and profiling that sometimes happens in a lot of these cases that we hear about.”
Ryan said the situation reminded her of when President Barack Obama encountered controversy when he invoked the name of Trayvon in a personal comment.
“It reminds me when we covered President Barack Obama, and the world lost their mind and I didn’t understand why, when the president then said if Trayvon Martin — in 2012, ‘if Trayvon Martin were my son, my son would look like him,’” Ryan recounted.
“And people didn’t understand. And at the base of this, it was an inconvenient truth that some people just didn’t want to grab ahold of, that there is an issue in this nation of bad policing. You have to remember when there are traffic stops, police are supposed to have probable cause. But there are those instances of profiling and implicit bias.”
Ryan was promoting her book “At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White,” and pointed out that she would eventually have to have a serious discussion with her own young children about how to deal with the police.
“Look, this is something – my kids are little, but I have two kids of color,” she said. “And I wonder what — you know, what is this going to mean here in the coming years when they’re not almost five and almost three. What are the conversations going to be like?”