Michelle Obama says Donald Trump doesn't see "shared humanity" of Chicago's South Side

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Michelle Obama is a proud daughter of the South Side of Chicago, so she's taken particular offense in Donald Trump's crude description of it — and African-American communities like it— as "hell."

At a rally for democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Phoenix, Arizona, the first lady said plainly that Trump simply doesn't understand the hardworking black communities that he's so lazily written off.

"He doesn't understand us," she said. "Maybe that's why he calls communities like the one where I was raised 'hell.' Because he can't see all the decent, hardworking folks like my parents who took those extra shifts, paid their bills on time, folks who are raising amazing families, sending kids to college."

Then, she got to the heart of the matter.


Michelle Obama speaking in Chicago.
Source: 
PAUL BEATY/AP

"Maybe he doesn't believe that people like us really exist, because he does not see our shared humanity."

In every one of this year's presidential debates, Trump has made it a point to single out black communities, arguing that they're so bad, what have black voters got to lose? The answer to that is simple: plenty. 

Trump's policy proposals have smacked of the "tough on crime" rhetoric of the 1980s and 1990s that have since been widely rejected.

But Michelle Obama's words on Thursday in Phoenix drill down on exactly what Trump is missing. Black communities and the people who live in them are deeply complex. Yet to see that complexity, you have to see them at all. And clearly, Trump doesn't.

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Jamilah King

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic. She was previously an editor at Colorlines.

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