The theme of racial segregation is evident in the book. Pettigrew and Maryleestate that racial discrimination is a web of institutional arrangements, which produces group inequalities such as economic resources and political power (2). Obama states that the ‘Great Migration’ had caused white families to leave the south side of Chicago to settle in the suburbs. The author states that at one time while visiting her mother’s friend Velma Steward at Park Forest, a white neighborhood, someone intentionally scratched her dad’s beloved Buick marking a “thin ugly gulch that ran across the door and toward the tail of the car” (Obama 36). The theme of racial segregation is also evident simply in the disparities between the South Side and the suburbs of Chicago. The author purports that in the South Side; second graders were not only attending school in a basement but also had an incompetent teacher that disliked them. Michelle also indicates that before moving to the suburbs, the neighborhood comprised of about 96% white families, however, with the increasing rate of poverty and violence, the neighborhood quickly changed to be comprised of 96% black families (Obama 31).
The theme of racism is also evident in this book. According to Clair and Jeffrey, racism refers to racial domination where a presumed cultural dominance of a particular racial group is utilized to justify the social position or the inferiority treatment of other racial groups (857). The author states that while growing up, they spoke more about inequality and race. Michelle’s parents often told her that the color of their skin made them vulnerable. The author reveals that despite her father’s skills and experience, his skin inhibited him from being promoted. The author reveals that racial discrimination was so evident that big factories regularly employed European immigrants instead of African American workers (Obama 42). Racism was also apparent even when Barack won the presidential election. The author states that from “where I sat, I could see … an ocean of whiteness and maleness… the absence of diversity was glaring (Obama 265). Michelle purports that the slant commentaries, such as “Don’t let the black folks take over” during the presidential campaigns were based on race (Obama 234). Subsequently, Michelle also states that it was apparent that racism caused the Republicans to block every bill proposed by Barack, regardless of whether it was good for the nation or not. The author also reveals she was often referred as an ‘angry black women’ and, thus, she knew she had to prove herself more, compared to former First Ladies simply because she was an African American First Lady.