'I can't make people not afraid of black people': Michelle Obama addresses epidemic of racism and says the best she can do is 'show up every day as a good human to pick away the scab'

Michelle Obama says when her family - and other black families - moved to the South Side of Chicago in the 1970s, it was her first experience of 'white flight'.
The former first lady spoke about her childhood and her life's work at the the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago on Tuesday. She has compared her experience to what immigrant families in America now face daily.
She said she wanted to remind white people that they were running from 'us', and that they're still running. She added that 'artificial things', like the color of a person's skin and the texture of their hair, can divide countries.  
'As families like ours — upstanding families like ours who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better. As we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented,' she said.
'I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world because I want to remind white folks, ya'll were running from us. This family. This family with all the values you read about, you were running from us.'
The 55-year-old added that her family was no different to immigrant families making a home for themselves in the US - and in particular, she referenced the area of Pilsen in Chicago, where a large number of Mexican immigrants have been settling in.   




The 55-year-old explained that because of this experience she had always felt a sense of injustice. Not just because of the racism, but because the families were 'disinvesting' in their community.
'We were a part of creating... history, and a lot of people walked away from it, they disinvested. One by one, they packed their bags and they ran from us, and they left communities in shambles,' she said.
'There were no gang fights, there were no territorial battles but one by one they packed their bags and they ran from us.' 

She explained that this was despite the fact the neighborhood at the time was multi-cultural, and that children of all races in the neighborhood were friends.    
'You know when people are running from you,' she said. 
'I can't make people not afraid of black people. I don't know what's going on, I can't explain what's happening in your head - but maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of your discrimination.' 
Michelle Obama - who was accompanied on stage in front of students and community activists at the Illinois Institute of Technology by her brother Craig Robinson - said that their parents had instilled in them a set of beliefs that helped counter the discrimination they felt.
'What our parents gave us was unconditional love and a notion that our voices mattered and that our opinions counted, and that what we said and thought had meaning,' she said.
And she added that when husband Barack Obama was elected president for the first time, and the family moved into the White House, it allowed people to look past those 'artificial things'.
'Being the first black First Family gave America and the world the opportunity to see the truth of who we are as black people,' she said.
She added that 'you can't worry about the legacy while you're in it. Let your truth speak for itself'. 
Michelle and Barack Obama were both speaking at the Illinois Institute of Technology where their three-day summit will feature talks by activists, including Ava DuVernay and singer Mavis Staples. 
The summit is being held in the city as the couple outline their vision for the Obama Presidential Center.  
The center is planned along the lakefront of Chicago's South Side. It's near where Obama started his political career and lived with his family.
The $500 million center is expected to house a public library branch, house multimedia collections and have community programs, among other things.
President Obama, 58, who opened the summit at a dinner on Monday, said the South Side was the right place for the couple's post-White House foundation, and eventual presidential library.  
'It was natural for Michelle and I to say, 'Well, we should do it in this place,' where I became a man and where Michelle grew up, and where our children were born,'' he said.  

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