This week's issue of People features a candid interview with the president and first lady on their personal experiences with racism and racial profiling as black Americans.
While thousands of U.S. citizens march, protest, and demand action in response to the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and other people of color at the hands of white police officers, the president has thus far remained circumspect in his commentary, garnering criticism for failing to connect personally, as the first black president, to the events' racial undertones.
While there's no mention of Ferguson or Garner in the online segment of the interview, the Obamas share more direct, personal experiences than they have in the past. "There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," the president said. Michelle described an incident where she was approached by a woman in a Target, not because she's first lady, but because the woman assumed she was a store assistant.
The Obamas are quick to point out that incidents like these are nothing compared to the hatred and abuse suffered by previous generations — and many young, black men today. Apparently referencing the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the president said: "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." (People)