In an interview on CBS This Morning, Michelle Obama spoke with Gayle King about the bittersweet reckoning she’s having with the coming of age of her two daughters as they prepare to navigate their own independent lives.
“I almost forgot that this year, this summer, they’re going to be 23 and 20,” Obama said of both Malia Obama, a 2021 graduate of Harvard University, and Sasha Obama, a sophomore at the University of Michigan. “I mean, I’m just like, ‘Stop there.’ I don’t even have teenagers anymore. So I am excited for her next chapter. That’s why I want to be as excited as every parent.”
The former First Lady shared that in spite of the excitement she feels in anticipation of her daughters’ burgeoning futures, she also carries apprehension over their safety regarding the risks of racial subjection. “I don’t want to have to worry about [Malia] entering a world where she has to worry about how people would treat her because of the color of her skin,” said Obama. “I am excited, but I’d like to be more excited,” she added, “to know that as she goes out and gets her first apartment and rides the subway somewhere, that they don’t make assumptions about her based on the color of her skin. That she’s not at risk, out there in the world as an adult, because she’s a Black woman.”
Obama added that her daughters have been committed to the fight against racial injustice in various forms of activism. She noted that both Malia and Sasha have taken great initiative in getting involved in the spur of national protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. “I didn’t have to give them a lot of advice because they had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong and [of] their own agency and the power of their voice and the need to participate,” said Obama.
The former First Lady’s remarks were a timely allusion to the recent conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose sentencing is scheduled for June 25, for the fatal assault of Floyd in May of 2020. She additionally noted in the interview that despite the ruling, racism permeates, and “there is still work to be done.”
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