Michelle Obama Addresses the Racism Her Daughters Face and the Fear She Has When They Get in a Car Alone

The former first lady also opens up about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected mental health.

Michelle Obama is getting candid about the fears she and husband Barack Obama have for daughters, Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, with regard to racism.

In an interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning on Monday, the former first lady addressed the various issues we're still facing as a country, including the continued reports of Black men and women dying at the hands of police, and the work that still needs to be done to end systemic racism.

"I wish I had an answer," Michelle replied, when Gayle brought up the fact that there's still so many people "that don't want to even admit" that there's a problem with racism in this country. "For me it goes back to [the idea that] we have to get to know each other. So much of what is going on is that if you've been raised to assume that all Black people are 'x,' in the case of interactions with Black men and police officers, sadly, it can also often lead to death."

"Many of us still live in fear as we go to the grocery store, walking our dogs or allowing our children to get a license," she continued. "I mean, just imagine ... [my girls] are driving. But 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?' The fact that they are good students and polite girls, but maybe they're playing their music a little loud. Maybe someone sees the back of their head and makes an assumption."

Michelle said that she, like so many other parents of Black kids, constantly worry about these things. "The innocent act of getting a license puts fear in our hearts," she admitted.

Michelle also opened up about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected mental health. She previously admitted to feeling a low-grade of depression during the past year.

"That's why I thought it was important to say it out loud, because to not feel depressed, with all that was going on, it's sort of, like, 'So you feel OK in all of this?'" Michelle explained. "Sometimes we just need to speak the truth. When there is such uncertainty and unrest and lack of leadership and calm, it is upsetting. It shakes you."

"But the point is is that there are dips, ebbs and flows to life. There are times when you feel great and times when you feel really low," she continued. "But it's important for us to own that that happens to us. For me, I have developed my own set of tools. Number one ... sometimes I have to turn it off. Sometimes I cannot continue to take it in. I think I want young people to be comfortable with identifying those peaks and valleys, and knowing that those valleys don't last forever."

Michelle added that she doesn't want any young person to make a "decision about anything while they're in a valley." 

"They have to know that time will move you to a better place," she said. Hear more in the video below.



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