Former First Lady Michelle Obama says racial equality in the midst of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic has made her feel “some kind of low-grade depression.”
“Not just because of quarantine, but because of racial strife, and just watching this administration, watching the hypocrisy in it, day in and day out, is confusing,” she said in the latest episode of her podcast released on Wednesday.
Obama added that the rising stories of black people being wrongfully arrested, killed or “dehumanized” have weighed on her. And while Floyd̵
“I would like to know that part of this depression is also a result of what we are seeing in terms of the protests, the continued racial movement, which has plagued this country since it was born,” she said.
The high proportion of black men in prisons, economic disparities and lack of access to high-quality health care were among the examples Obama pointed out.
Obama also discussed the attitudes of some Americans about the country inaugurating its first black president when her husband Barack Obama was elected in 2008.
“The reaction to it on all sides, the great discomfort with the notion that a black man could sit at the highest office level, we saw it. We saw the signs, we saw the lights,” she said.
Both Obamas have been subjected to right-wing attacks and online abuse.
Reflecting on the pandemic, Obama also discussed the issue of people refusing to wear masks, calling his actions “frustrating.”
“It’s almost like there’s a limit to our victim and it was about a month and then we just got tired of the virus,” she said. “It has been disappointing to see so many people who are tired of staying home because the virus did not affect them.”
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The country needs to think more about important workers, many of whom are financially unstable and lack health insurance and greater risks of becoming ill, she said.
In the episode, Obama talks with Washington Post columnist and friend Michele Norris about the rise in protests against racial justice since George Floyd’s death.
In the midst of all the challenges the country faces, Obama said she is dealing with “emotional highs and lows” by trying to maintain a routine, try not to be harsh on herself, get outdoors and spend time with her family.
Obama’s eponymous podcast was launched last month with an interview with former President Barack Obama.