The “Michelle Obama Podcast” featured the former first lady, 56, her older brother Craig Robinson, 58, and their mother Marian Robinson, 83. Craig Robinson, in particular, learned early on what interactions with police was going to be like, and it was “heartbreaking,” Page Six reports.
One instance that was particularly poignant happened when Obama’s brother was a teenager, and he was repeatedly accused by Chicago cops of stealing his own bike that his parents bought him.
“It was terrifying only because I was always taught that the police are your friends and they’ll believe the truth,” Craig Robinson said on the episode, which aired Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.
“This guy grabbed my bike and he wouldn’t let it go,” Craig Robinson said, adding that an officer was not listening to his answers but actually trying to “trip” him up. “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.”
“I was absolutely heartbroken,” he continued, “and I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you this is my bike.’”
Of course, the matriarch defended her son and angrily told the Chicago cops that, yes, she bought the bike for him. Marian Robinson also pressed the officers, who were both Black, about why they were interrogating her son.
Obama said that traumatizing experience is but a microcosm of the larger issue and crystallizes what it is often like when Black people interact with the police — even with some African American cops.
“When you leave that 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,” Obama said, according to Page Six.