Here’s why Michelle Obama nixed dress code for White House butlers
Michelle Obama had White House butlers ditch their uniforms because she didn’t want her daughters thinking that “African American men served them in tuxedos,” she revealed in a Netflix documentary aired Wednesday.
The former First Lady said the get-ups worn by the butlers — elderly African American and Latino men — sent the wrong message to Malia and Sasha, who were 10 and seven years old when they moved into the White House.
“When I went to visit [the White House] and have tea with Laura Bush, there were butlers there – fully dressed in tuxedos which they wore all the time, Most of them were African American or Latino, most of the time older men,” Obama explained in the documentary “Becoming.”
“What I spent a lot of time thinking about was, ‘How do I make this mansion with butlers and staff feel like a home for two little girls?’”
“I didn’t want them growing up thinking that grown African American men served them in tuxedos,” she added.
“The truth was that some of those men were my uncles. They were the Pullman porters and the folks – and I didn’t want my daughters to grow up with that image. So we had to change the dress code,” the former first lady said.
Obama, 56, also had to “beg” the White House housekeepers not to clean Malia and Sasha’s rooms so they would learn to do it themselves.
Her daughters at first resisted making their beds or doing their laundry, she recalled, “Of course, the girls were like: ‘They make your bed.’ And I was like, ‘I’m the First Lady. And I have a degree.’”
The documentary, which is based on the former first lady’s bestselling memoir of the same name, was released Wednesday.
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