April Ryan reacts to Michelle Obama’s comments on race: ‘I feel her fear’
"As a mother of two Black teenagers," Ryan said, "I feel her fear," noting that she's had to have "the talk" about police interaction with them.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to CBS This Morning host Gayle King on the subject of race and the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd.
“We know that while we’re all breathing a sigh of relief over the verdict, there’s still work to be done,” Obama told King, “and so we, can’t sort of say, ‘Great. That happened. Let’s move on.’ “I know that people in the Black community don’t feel that way because many of us still live in fear.”
Obama said she often feels that fear when the now-adult former first daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, now 19 and 22, are out alone.
“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,” she said. “The fact that they are good students and polite girls. But maybe they’re playin’ their music a little loud. Maybe somebody sees the back of their head and makes an assumption. The innocent act of getting a license puts fear in our hearts.”
April D. Ryan, White House correspondent for TheGrio and CNN contributor, appeared on the network’s New Day Monday morning, where she echoed the former first lady’s sentiments.
“As a mother of two Black teenagers,” Ryan said, “I feel her fear. She’s talking about implicit bias and profiling that happens in a lot of these cases we hear about.”
Ryan, who was also promoting her book “At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White,” noted that she has had to have “the talk” with her teen children about how to interact with police. She reminded New Day host Brianna Keilar that it is a conversation that she will likely have to have one day with her two young children, who she described as persons of color.
Ryan said that Obama’s comments remind Americans of the “inconvenient truth” that people of color in America are often the victims of bad policing. She also maintained that without the cover of Secret Service protection, the Obamas are still “susceptible” to police violence.
“It reminds me of when former President Obama said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin,” Ryan said. The comments from President Barack Obama, America’s first Black commander-in-chief, stirred controversy in 2012.
According to Ryan, the president’s words were controversial because they addressed the reality for many in America.
Mrs. Obama’s remarks, which came just after Mother’s Day, resonated for the two television veterans. Keilar said she worries about someone hurting her children by “not seeing our kids the way we see them.”
“The way they are,” Ryan emphasized. “Not just the way we see them.”