Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, has been a member of Congress for almost two decades.
Yet when he is walking down the street in Washington, D.C., at night and white women walk toward him, he says "I cross the street" to avoid making them uncomfortable.
Cummings says he rarely speaks about race or what life is like as a black man, but says President Barack Obama's heartfelt remarks Friday afternoon made him more comfortable to do so.
"I think it's important that he speak out and he brings a very unique perspective, because is the president and he has been extremely fortunate compared to most African-Americans, and yet still he can speak to the prejudices that most of us still face," Cummings told CNN in a telephone interview.
Cummings lives in what calls the "inner city" of Baltimore, Maryland.
For emphasis, he says "when I say inner, I mean inner."