The U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday the so-called beer summit is a beer not a summit.

I noticed this has been called the 'Beer Summit.' It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys, Obama told reporters ahead of the gathering.

Obama invited Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley to join him for a beer on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in White House hoping to defuse the racial dispute.

This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other, the president said. And that's really all it is. This is not a university seminar.

I am, I have to say, fascinated by the fascination about this evening, Obama said.

He described it as some personal conversation among people who are imperfect, and he included himself in that.

Hopefully, instead of ginning up anger and hyperbole everybody can just spend a little bit of time with some self-reflection and recognizing that other people have different points of view, Obama said. And that's it.

Gibbs said they will make no statements in the presence of the media. Reporters, photographers and video crews will be kept out of earshot. The whole public exposure may last less than a minute.