Obama on racism: I was mistaken for a waiter

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive for a reception for 2014 Kennedy Center honorees in the East Room at the White House in Washington. (Reuters)

U.S. President Barack Obama opened up about racial prejudice in the country which has recently witnessed protests decrying policemen’s alleged excessive use of force on black suspects, in an interview with People magazine.

“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,” President Barack Obama said in an excerpt released Wednesday.

Obama, who said racial relations had improved but progress was needed, added that it had happened to him, too.

First lady Michelle Obama also recalled another incident when her husband “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner and somebody asked him to get coffee.”

As for Mrs. Obama, she recounted this incident: “I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.”

The full interview is expected to in the issue on newsstands Friday.

The U.S. has experienced racial tensions after the deaths of teenage Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in State Island, New York.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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