Barack Obama is of Luo, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, German and Swiss heritage. In a 2016 interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates for the Atlantic, Obama said, "...there is no doubt that as a mixed child, as the child of an African and a white woman, who was very close to white grandparents who came from Kansas, that I think the working assumption of discrimination, the working assumption that white people would not treat me right or give me an opportunity, or judge me on the basis of merit—that kind of working assumption is less embedded in my psyche than it is, say, with Michelle."
He elaborated, "There is a little bit of a biographical element to this. I had as a child seen at least a small cross-section of white people, but the people who were closest to me loved me more than anything. And so even as an adult, even by the time I’m 40, 45, 50, that set of memories meant that if I walked into a room and it’s a bunch of white farmers, trade unionists, middle age—I’m not walking in thinking, Man, I’ve got to show them that I’m normal."
"I walk in there, I think, with a set of assumptions: like, these people look just like my grandparents," Obama explained, "And I see the same Jell-O mold that my grandmother served, and they’ve got the same, you know, little stuff on their mantelpieces. And so I am maybe disarming them by just assuming that we’re okay."