Michelle Obama said she wasn’t shocked by Meghan Markle’s allegations of racism in the British royal family.
The former First Lady made the comments in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show.
Markle and her husband Prince Harry leveled astonishing allegations against the royal family during an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month.
Among the claims were accusations that the couple’s son was denied a royal title and that a member of the family held “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
Jenna Bush Hager, who interviewed Mrs. Obama, asked what her thoughts were on Markle, who is bi-racial, alleging that the royal family “thought differently of her.”
“Race isn’t a new construct in this world, for people of color,” replied Obama. “So it wasn’t a complete surprise to, sort of, hear her feelings.”
Watch @JennaBushHager’s full interview with @MichelleObama on her new Netflix show for kids, “Waffles + Mochi,” her mental health struggles during the pandemic and last year’s racial unrest, having her daughters back home, and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. pic.twitter.com/fbL1jxKKAJ
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2021
Michelle Obama Not Surprised By Racism Claims
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What makes Michelle Obama’s comments about racism in the royal family interesting is that Markle’s claims are very similar to the Former First Lady’s stories about enduring racism in the White House.
Both portray themselves as victims of – in their minds – an overwhelmingly racist society.
During a Spotify podcast last summer, Obama complained of consistent racism during her time in the White House in the form of being ignored by white people.
She described an incident when she and her husband first entered the White House, in which she and her two daughters went to get ice cream following a soccer game.
“I had told the Secret Service to stand back, because we were trying to be normal,” Obama claimed, and still “a white woman cuts right in front of us to order.”
“All she saw was a Black person, or a group of Black people, or maybe she didn’t even see that,” she recalled. “Because we were that invisible.”
Michelle Obama on being a Black woman in America:
“What the white community doesn’t understand about being a person of color in this nation is that there are daily slights. In our workplaces, where people talk over you, or people don’t even see you.” https://t.co/4ATxpmYbmZ
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) August 27, 2020
Mrs. Obama went on to take offense that people hadn’t recognized her while walking the dogs “incognito.”
“I can tell you a number of stories like that when I’ve been completely incognito, during the eight years in the White House, walking the dogs on the canal, people will come up and pet my dogs but will not look me in the eye. They don’t know it’s me,” she asserted.
The constant racism, she added, is “exhausting.”
Pretending you’re a victim, constantly, must be exhausting as well.
Harry and Meghan: Michelle Obama says Duchess of Sussex’s racism claims ‘weren’t a complete surprise’ https://t.co/6M9Pqvc5j6
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 16, 2021
Obama Urges To Make This a Teachable Moment
Obama did urge Meghan and Harry to take the high road and to use the alleged racism in the royal family as a “teachable moment.”
“The thing that I hope for and the thing that I think about is that this – first and foremost is a family – and I pray for forgiveness and healing for them so they can use his as a teachable moment for them all,” Obama said.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 16, 2021
Obama proceeded to suggest that Meghan and Harry use their public service efforts to serve the people and not themselves.
“The thing I always keep in mind is that none of it is about us, in public service,” she claimed, despite having made everything about her over the past thirteen years.
“It’s about the people that we serve” she finished.
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