Obama made the remarks on Tuesday during a memorial service honoring five police officers killed in the U.S. city of Dallas in Texas last week.
This would be a powerful statement coming from the president of the USA no matter what he or she looked like - but having a black man say this, a man who has also been pulled over by the police for no good reason, makes it all the more meaningful. The image of President George W. Bush, who also attended the memorial service, gathering with first responders in the rubble of the World Trade Center also sent a powerful message.
"I know we'll make it because of what I've seen in my own life", he said.
"Dallas, I'm here to say we must reject such despair".
But when Obama added, "We ask the police to do too much, and we ask too little of ourselves", the officers behind him applauded.
Holding hands with his wife, Laura Bush, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, former president George W Bush swung their hands, swayed back and forth and smiled widely. I've seen too many families go through this.
Leonesea Morgan, who is paying her respects to the fallen officers, is also angered by police shootings in Dallas, Texas, July 12, 2016.
For Obama, it marked the 11th time during his presidency that he'd visited scenes of mass shootings to offer condolences, most recently last month in Orlando.
Bush, a Dallas resident, attended the memorial with his wife, Laura.
Rawlings also said that the service should be about unity. The president assured the Dallas mourners "we are not as divided as we seem". No institution is entirely immune, and that includes our police departments.
Earlier in the day, the president placed a phone call to Philando Castile's mom, Valerie Castile, and informed her that he would mention her son at the Dallas memorial.
"And despite the fact that police conduct was the subject of the protest".
"When African-Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country voice their growing despair at what they perceive to be unequal treatment ... we can not simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as trouble makers or paranoid".
Brown's reception from his troops and the rest of the crowd was more like something you'd hear at a sporting event.
On Wednesday, he will host a meeting with law enforcement officials, activists and civil rights leaders to discuss ways to fix "the bonds of trust" between communities and police, the White House said on Monday.
Services were held for Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson, Dallas police Sgt. Michael Smith and Dallas police Sr. Cpl.
"All of us feel a sense of loss, but not equally", Bush said, before directly addressing the families of those officers who were killed.
He faces a delicate balancing act of supporting law enforcement while addressing concerns of bias from some of the communities they serve. Nine other officers and two civilians were wounded by Johnson. "I think there's no better spokesman than Chief Brown, who's done an incredible job".