Michelle Obama criticised for allegedly using racial slur

The First Lady of the USA apparently used the derogatory term “gypped” during an interview with an ABC reporter

Jenn Selby
Thursday 26 June 2014 09:24 BST

Michelle Obama has come under some fire for allegedly using a racial slur during a recent interview.

The First Lady of the USA was being questioned about her experience as a working mother by ABC news reporter Robin Roberts at the White House Summit on Working Families on Monday when she apparently used the term “gypped”.

Speaking about living on a part-time wage, she said: “The first thing I tried to do, which was a mistake, was that I tried the part-time thing… I realised I was getting gypped on that front.

“What happened was that I got a part-time salary but worked full-time.”

Derived from the word “gypsy” in reference to the Romani people, “gypped” is often thought of as derogatory term because it means to cheat someone out of something.

A number of media outlets and political blogs, including the Daily Caller, have criticised the First Lady’s seemingly light use of the word.

“The slur refers to the act of defrauding or robbing through practices such as swindling or cheating,” political blogger Ariel Cohen wrote. “The correct usage of the term is most certainly not synonymous to ‘slighted’ or ‘cut short’.

“Defenders of Romani point out that the abbreviation, ‘gyp,’ is nothing more than a callous slur used by the culturally insensitive. Similar slurs to ‘gypped’ include ‘Jewed down’ or calling someone an ‘Indian giver’.

ABC reporter Robin Roberts and Michelle Obama in conversation during the White House summit on Working Families
ABC reporter Robin Roberts and Michelle Obama in conversation during the White House summit on Working Families

“All offensive. Definitely not something that the first lady of the United States of America should be saying in interviews.”

President Barack Obama has also previously used the word “gypped” in public.

Obama used the term during a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania in 2009. He told the audience present that he intended to regulate companies providing health insurance to make sure their customers were not “gypped”.

A spokesperson for the First Lady Michelle Obama is yet to respond to a request for comment.

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