World leaders are “not that smart,” former first lady Michelle Obama told a British audience recently as she encouraged minority females to rise above what they believe are society’s expectations.
During an appearance at London’s Royal Festival Hall in early December, she offered advice to her audience, according to the BBC.
“My advice to young women is that you have to start by getting those demons out of your head,” she said, referring to how she believes society pigeonholes females.
“The question I ask myself— ‘am I good enough?’ — that haunts us, because the messages that are sent from the time we are little is: Maybe you are not. Don’t reach too high. Don’t talk too loud,” Obama said.
She said that individuals in power particularly try to make “women of color” believe they do not belong.
“I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N. They are not that smart,” she said.
One person she did have a good comment about was Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, whose car she rode in during a 2016 visit to Windsor Castle, CNN reported.
“So I had all this protocol buzzing in my head, and I was like, ‘don’t trip down the stairs and don’t touch anybody, whatever you do,'” Obama said. “And so the queen says, ‘just get in, sit wherever’ and she’s telling you one thing and you’re remembering protocol and she says, ‘Oh, it’s all rubbish, just get in.'”
She said her husband admires the queen.
“She’s smart and funny and honest,” she said. “He is a huge fan for sure.”
During her appearance, she said she sometimes finds it hard to believe people want or heed her advice.
“I still have a little imposter syndrome, it never goes away, that you’re actually listening to me,” she said.
“It doesn’t go away, that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.
“If I’m giving people hope then that is a responsibility, so I have to make sure that I am accountable,” she said.
During her talk, she said the apparently fleeting nature of her husband’s achievements should not eclipse them.
“We mistakenly thought that Barack Obama was going to erase hundreds of years in history in eight years — that’s ridiculous to think that could happen,” Obama said, according to Newsweek.
“So, we’re putting down marbles and going backward doesn’t mean the progress wasn’t real,” she said.
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