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Michelle Obama Speaks Out About Being Labeled an ‘Angry Black Woman’

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Michelle Obama opened up about being labelled an “angry black woman” during her tenure as First Lady in her final White House interview with Oprah.

Obama told Oprah in an interview slated to air Monday night on CBS that she was surprised to be referred to by the racist moniker. The stereotype was first affixed to her during her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign, and notably re-emerged after Obama publicly spoke out about the stereotype in 2012 after a book painted her as a tough presence in the White House.

“That was one of those things that you just sort of think, dang, you don’t even know me, you know?” she said. “You just sort of feel like, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ You think, ‘that is so not me!’ But then you sort of think, ‘well, this isn’t about me.’ This is about the person or the people who write it.”

Read More: Michelle Obama Has Repeatedly Faced Racism as First Lady. Here’s How She Responded

“We are so afraid of each other,” she added. “Color, wealth, these things that don’t matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another. And it’s sad, because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin, the size of our bank account. None of that matters.”

Obama said that she dealt with the prejudice by simply living her life on her own terms.

“I thought, let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and then judge for themselves,” she said. “And that is what I want young people to do. Just live your life.”


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Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com