"How we are thinking about race relations right now has been colored by Ferguson, the Garner case in New York, a growing awareness in the broader population of what many communities of color have understood for some time," Obama said at an annual press briefing Friday.
"We got more work to do on that front. This is a legacy of a troubled racial past," Obama stressed.
According to the US president, the wealth gap between African Americans and white Americans persists, although the former are doing better now, compared to how things were six years ago. Obama cited improvements in education, universal healthcare and a growing job market as some factors that have led to improvements for African American communities.
Since the police killing this summer of unarmed 18-year-old African American Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the United States has been gripped by demonstrations and discussions over police brutality.
Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot Brown, was not indicted by a grand jury. In another similar case, Daniel Pantaleo, the white police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold which resulted in him suffocating to death, was similarly not indicted by a grand jury in New York.
Both deaths and the jury verdicts caused nationwide protests across the US.