President Obama said Friday that Americans should respect the George Zimmerman verdict, but white Americans should also understand that African-Americans continue to face racial discrimination.

"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," Obama said during a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room.

Obama said he himself has been subjected to casual prejudice, even as a United States senator, but also said African Americans need to address the problems of violence in their own communities.