By Emma Dooney
Michelle Obama has opened up about her fears for her daughters' safety as black women in US society, admitting she worries about them 'every time they get in a car by themselves.'
The former First Lady sat down on CBS This Morning yesterday to discuss a variety of topics—including her concerns as a mother to two children of color.
Michelle revealed she is excited for the future of her eldest daughter, Malia, but also nervous about the risks she faces in public as a black person. The 22-year-old will step foot into the working world once she graduates with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard in May—a transition that instills both pride and trepidation in her protective mom.
"I am excited for her next chapter," she told host, Gayle King. "That's why I want to be as excited as every parent. I don't want to worry about her entering a world where she has to worry about how people will treat her because of the color of her skin,' she said.
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Michelle went on to explain that the systematic racism of today's America makes it difficult to fully celebrate her daughter's milestones. The attorney-turned-philanthropist, who recently partnered with Girls Scouts for an inspiring cause, constantly frets that Malia will be subject to discrimination in society.
"I am excited but I'd like to be more excited 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," she said, "That she's not at risk, out there, as an adult because she's a black woman."
Malia is reportedly under the protection of the Secret Service at college, who dress in plain clothes and ensure her wellbeing from a distance. It remains unclear if she will have the same security after she graduates. Her younger sister Sasha, who is currently a student at the University of Michigan, is also said to be under the surveillance of high-ranking security agents.
The prevalence of US police brutality against people of color has placed Michelle on high alert, especially as her daughters become more independent.
"Every time they get in a car by themselves, I worry about what assumption is being made by somebody who doesn't know everything about them," she said. The Becoming author added that she knows even the smallest act could draw unwanted attention to her children, and potentially end in devastating consequences.
"The fact that they are good students and polite girls. But maybe they're playing their music a little loud. 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."
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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