Talking Points Memo reports on a People magazine interview with President and Michelle Obama about their own experiences as black people in America.
It means being handed car keys while waiting on a sidewalk for delivery of one’s own car. It means, as first lady, being asked for assistance in a Target. It means difficulty in catching a cab. It means being asked to fetch a cup of coffee while wearing a tuxedo at a formal dinner. The Obamas talk about their own experiences.
Never mind being a young black male stopped by a cop on suspicion, well, of being black.
I can readily predict the Facebook, Twitter and media comment pages already building on this interview. “Get over it,” will be a popular response from white people who think we live in a color-blind society.Any honest person would admit it isn’t. And any honest person would admit that this reality underlies reaction to use of deadly force against black suspects — sometimes in debatable circumstances, sometimes not.
The President also appeared to reference the 2012 killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fl.
“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,” he told the magazine.
UPDATE: Ernie Dumas writes this week about first-hand and historic accounts of mistreatment of blacks in Arkansas. (Just as I predicted, Twitter and Facebook and this thread all have comments from people saying, “Hey, I’ve been mistaken for the help, too.” As if …. )