Michelle Obama has shared on her podcast that her brother, Craig, was taken by Chicago police and accused him of stealing his own bike when he was ten.
The former First Lady said the cops did not believe him until they took him to his mother.
Michelle, 56, invited her brother Craig and their mom Marian Robinson onto her Spotify podcast this week. When they reached the subject of protests and police brutality, the trio shared one of their unforgettable experience with Chicago police.
Michelle said that while they were raised with certain values, but “when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being black is a crime in and of itself,” you must operate with “a level of caution and fear.”
She recalled the time when her brother was out riding his new 10-speed bike their parents had purchased for him.
“You were riding down the street and you got stopped by the police, and they accused you of stealing your own bike. And they would not believe you, to the point where you were like, take me to my home,” Michelle expressed.
Craig then said that the moment was “terrifying.”
He recalled: “I was always taught that the police are your friends, and they’ll believe the truth, and I was telling them the truth and this guy would not believe me.
“So this guy grabbed my bike, and he wouldn’t let it go, and I was like oh no, no, and I was so innocent. I was like, ‘Oh you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike.’
“And he would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken, and I finally said to him, listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike.”
The police loaded his bike into the trunk of a police car and took him home, where his mother was waiting.
Marian then learned that the officers were friends with someone who accused her son of stealing the bike.
“I said, what you did was cancel out a whole lotta things that we had been teaching them,” Marian said. “And I think you need to come back here, and talk to [him]. And at least admit you made a serious mistake, so that you won’t cancel out everything we’ve been trying to teach our children.”
But when one of the cops admitted that he had realized the boy was telling the truth, he still did not drop the subject.
Marian recalled: “He said you know, I knew that was his bike the minute he said take me to my house. And then I said, well why did you let it go that far? You are actually messing with a 10 year old’s mind as far as the police are concerned.
“That’s the perfect example of what all of these young black people are dealing with now, because this was almost fifty years ago.”
Michelle added: “What a lot of folks who are not in our position don’t understand is that this is such a way of life, when it comes to interacting with the rest of the world.
“You know, nobody thinks about the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values. But when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being black is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution and fear, because you never know.
“And we grow up having to have conversations with our children, because almost everybody I know has had some kind of incident where they were doing, just minding their own business, but living black, and go accused of something.”
Craig added: “It just made me acutely aware at a young age [of] what mom and dad had always talked about.
You have to be very careful when you’re out here, not just dealing with the bad element that you have to deal with when you’re living in a black neighborhood of, you know, crime, gangs, that kind of thing, but you have to worry about the police too.
“So you have to walk this line, where you can’t make a mistake on either side, or you could get sucked up.”
Their mother added: “You’re taught, you know, people are gonna assume the worst of you. So you’ve got to be better than, you’ve got to be 10 times better than.
“We have to be better to just be equal, so the fact that there’re people out there that treat us less than, when we’re working so hard to be better than, that’s where the pain comes from.
“That’s what these young people are so angry about. Because they’re doing everything right, everything they are told, and it’s doesn’t matter. A police officer will still stop them, and accuse them of stealing a bike that their parents worked hard to get. That hurts.”
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