Updated with full Obama statement.....
WASHINGTON--President Obama was asked by Barbara Walters on "The View" why he calls himself black when he is biracial, the product of a white mother and a black father. In answering, Obama may have used a word that may spark some controversy. He called African Americans "sort of a mongrel people" though "true for white America as well."
Here's the exchange:
OBAMA: Well, you know, when I was young and going through the identity crisis that any teenager goes through -- I wrote a book about this.
WALTERS: Yes. ... We all read it.
OBAMA: You know, part of what I realized was that if the world saw me as African American, then that wasn't something that I needed to run away from. That's something that I could go ahead and embrace. And the interesting thing about the African-American experience in this country is that we are sort of a mongrel people. I mean, we're all kind of mixed up.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Yeah.
OBAMA: Now, that's actually true for white America as well, but we just know more about it. And so I'm less interested in how we label ourselves. I'm more interested in how we treat each other. And if we're treating each other right, then I can be African American, I can be multiracial, I can be you name it. What matters is, am I showing people respect? Am I caring for other people? That's, I think, the message we want to send.