September 19th, 2007
06:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Jesse Jackson: Obama's 'acting like he's white'

Jackson was sharply critical of Obama's reaction to the case in Jena, Louisiana Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson sharply criticized Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Tuesday over his reaction to the arrest of six black juveniles in Jena, Louisiana on murder charges, accusing the Illinois senator of "acting like he's white," according to a South Carolina newspaper.

The comments reportedly came after a speech at Columbia’s historically black Benedict College.

The State newspaper reports Jackson later said he did not recall saying Obama is "acting like he's white," but continued to condemn the Illinois Democrat as well as the other presidential candidates for not bringing more attention to this issue. (Related: Residents: Nooses spark school violence, divide town)

He also said Obama needs to be "bolder" in his stances if he wants to make inroads in South Carolina. Obama currently trails rival Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York, in the Palmetto State by 18 points, according to a recent LA Times/Bloomberg poll.

Jackson, who ran for president twice in the 1980's, endorsed Obama's White House bid earlier in the year. Jackson won the South Carolina Democratic primary, where African American voters play an influential role, in both presidential bids.

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– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (828 Responses)
  1. Andrew, Auburn, AL

    I will start listening to Jesse Jackson again when he FORMALLY apologizes for his remarks that demeaned and pressured the prosecution of the Duke University lacrosse players.

    September 19, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Ima Hipocrite

    Sorry Jesse, I'll start acting more like Orenthal James immediately!!

    September 19, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Carmen, Los Angeles, California

    I remember Jesse Jackson's statements about Jews two decades ago. This is no different.

    As an biracial woman, I've gone to school with people who were just like Jackson. If you're biracial and you try to advance your situation by speaking properly and conducting yourself with class, you're acting White.

    And enough with African American. Yes, I am Black, but I am an American. I've never stepped one foot into Africa, my mother is White and Spanish, and my father's Black ancestors might have originated as slaves, but they eventually settled onto Indian reservations and married into tribes. I am an American.

    Run, Jesse, run back onto your philandering, hypocritical high horse, and ride away. And take everyone who buys into your rhetoric with you.

    September 19, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Jeff, Joliet Il

    The level of intolerance still around today is mind boggling. Jesse jackson is a racist on the same level as David Duke. To preach about equality and race and yet "acting white" is being used in a negative connotation.
    What happen in Jena is embarrasing to us as a nation and as humans. Any decent person that knows of this story is or should be outraged. Jesse doesn't help. Obama to me is the most power speaker of hope and the decency since JFK and MLK. Obama is what it is to be an American.

    September 19, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Max, Cincinnati, OH

    Jena? Mr. Jackson does the word Durham mean anything to you? After you incited racial problems to a bogus rape allegation how can anyone take your grandstanding seriously? And how is it that Mr. Jackson is never held accountable? He simply goes from town to town like other con men.

    September 19, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Deb in Kansas

    So what if Obama sounds more "white" in one crowd or more "black" in another crowd? Oprah has been doing it for years!! I do it, too: I sound like the educated person I am when I discuss pertinent issues with my colleagues at work. When I am having a great time on the town with friends, I sound like I ain't got no education at all! I sound like a Choir Girl when I talk to my Mother Dear. Maybe we shouldn't be too quick to judge people for being . . . well . . . human.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Brandon, Dallas, TX

    Acting white? Let's see – he's Harvard educated, well-spoken, successful, a model parent, a man of faith and a community leader. I'm not sure The Reverend is doing much for his African American constituents by making that comparison.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Luu, Suwanee, GA

    How does a "Black" person act Vs a "White" person act? Mr. Jesse Jackson please start acting like a civilized, educated person instead!!!

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Earl, Detroit Mich

    If the Courts are going to prosecute the young men of color from Jena for the fight then the Courts should also prosecute the young white men who hung the nooses under the hate crimes and racial intimidation laws. Lets keep it all equal.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Whites, Blacks, Browns we all want the same thing and that is peace, love, freedom, justice, and everything that has a good name stop acting like little children.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. james, Minneapolis, MN

    Most of you should refrain from making any comments about race.

    CNN may want to refrain from reporting news in the future as well.

    If Jesse did even say something remotely close to this someone will have it on tape.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. MPG - San Francisco, CA

    Many would agree that that the "Jena 6" should be punished for their actions, and that the punishment should be firm but fair. Also, I think that the persons responsible for hanging the nooses should also have been punished beyond the small slap on the wrist they received. Now, having said that, I think it is naive of any American to assume that racism (black, white, hispanic or asian) does not exist and that our perception of others is "colored" by externals. While we may have appeared to come a long way, old habits, patterns of thinking die very hard, slow deaths, if at all.

    People like Jackson should be very careful about the remarks they make about anyone. And certainly comments like "acting white" does nothing to elevate anyone's thinking or understanding, and does nothing to improve race relations. People like Senator Obama are not the exception (as some people may think – - some of whom have posted here), they are more the rule......The Senator proposes to represent the interests of ALL Americans, white, black, hispanic, asian, men, women, children. Further, any self-respecting "Reverend" who purports him or herself to be a champion of civil rights, should be looking out for the rights of ALL Americans who may be disinfranchised by the system.

    We shall overcome one day, but it'll take a helluva long time to do it if people like Jackson continues to make remarks that divide us rather than unite.

    September 19, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Martha

    No longer has a media pundit for the upcoming Presidential election, Jesse had to resort to the tried and true tactics of the "established" Afro-American Political regime in order to receive coverage–race-baiting up-and-coming African-American politicians who have a fresh approach to the racial incongruence in this country. Jesse...how can you DEMAND respect and equality from White America, when you don't proscribe to those principles within your own culture?

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Rob, Miami FL

    Whats wrong with being white, black or yellow, why does Jackson have to be so racist?

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Jesse Jackson is one of the most racist public figures in this country. He is a despicable human being.

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Greg Lenhart, Lititz, PA

    People are trying to make a race issue out of the Obama ticket. Isn't this the same group of people that said Obama is not really an "African American?" Now they are saying he's "acting white." Ya can't have it both ways! Obama should act like Obama whether he's black, white or any other color. Sheesh! It's the 21st century and people (black OR white) can't remove the race issue. Obama is Obama. See him for what he is – a hardworking AMERICAN who wants to be president. No matter who the candidates are they all want to make America better.

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Phyllis, St. Louis, MO

    Jesse needs to get a life, Obama is half white, so he can act anyway he wants. Jesse is like Sharpton, they both are tired and thru and need to retire!. They are always trying to stir something up between whites and blacks

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. DC, Kansas City, MO

    Jesse Jackson has done it again, he has in public announced and supported racist slurs and propaganda! That is what his stupid comments support! A black leader that continues to “Preach” that racism has no place in America or the world but continues to not only promote it but produce it himself with comments like “acting white”. Is this the same man that wanted Imus to get fired for saying “nappy headed hoes”?? I would really like to understand better what “acting white” means. In his context it I would assume that “acting white” is a bad thing? Heck, I am white; does this mean I am acting bad everyday? Racism confuses me, if I make the wrong comment I am considered a racist but we continue to let people like Jesse Jackson openly promote and support racism as long as it is one sided (reverse racism). Hell, I will only assume my comments here are racist………

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Fallon, Barbados

    It is alleged Jesse Jackson is a ranking circle freemason, and many are right to believe freemasons of all creeds are being influenced to devide America like sheep however they can..Obama hopefully will be the first president that is not a freemason puppet with his strings being pulled. Black, white or whatever colour people call him..(why if u half black u r black, why not white)one drop rule ehh..he is a human being with noble character..thats what counts to those with wisdom!

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. CYNTHIA, LITTLE ROCK, AR

    JESSE – SHUT UP!! I AM A BLACK WOMAN WHO HAS RESPECT FOR ANY BLACK LEADER WHO DARES TO RALLY OUR OUR COMMUNITIES BEHALF BUT I WILL NOT LET JESSE OR ANY OTHER BLACK/WHITE LEADER INFLUENCE MY DECISIONS ESPECIALLY AGAINST ANOTHER BLACK LEADER – ***STOP DIVIDING OUR COMMUNITY*** – WHITE PEOPLE STICK TOGETHER IN ALL THEY THEY DO – HECK, THEY ARE TOGETHER ABOUT OJ!!! THEY ALL THINK HE DID IT (I DO TOO!) – BUT THE POINT IS THAT OBAMA IS TRYING TO RUN A PRESIDENTIAL RACE AND HE DID ADDRESS THE ISSUE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS HAPPENED – HILARY ADDRESSES THE ISSUE LATER (WHO IN THE HECK WOULD VOTE FOR HER) – AND TO THE PEOPLE STATING WE SHOULD NOT SUPPORT THESE 6 BLACK BOYS – YOU ARE RACIST!!! – THESE BOYS SHOULD BE PUNISHED BUT NOT TO THIS EXTENT – AND GET THE FACT STRAIGHT BEFORE YOU POST CRAP ON HERE – THOSE WHITE BOYS WHO PULLED GUNS, HUNG NOOSES, AND BEAT UP ANOTHER BLACK BOY WHERE NOT PUNISHED!!! THE WHITE BOYS WHO BEAT UP THE BLACK BOY (THIS FIGHT CAME BEFORE THE JEAN 6 FIGHT) THEY GOT 3 DAYS SUSPENSION AND THEY CRACKED A BOTTLE UPSIDE THE HEAD OF THE BLACK BOY...ONLY 3 OF THE BLACK BOYS WERE INVOLVED IN THIS FIGHT – THE OTHER 3 WERE INVOLVED IN THE PROTEST UNDER THE TREE AND THE DA HAD IT OUT FOR THEM AND CHARGED THEM – HE TOLD THEM WHEN THEY PROTESTED HE COULD DESTROY THEIR LIVES WITH A STROKE OF A PEN – AS WELL AS THE WHITE BOY WAS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL THE SAME DAY AND WENT TO A AWARDS CEREMONY – NOW IS THAT ATTEMPTED MURDER – NO THE HELL IT ISN'T...THIS WHOLE SITUATION IS TO PUT OUR BLACK BOYS IN JAIL – TRUE THEY DESERVED TO BE PUNISHED NO ONE IS SAYING THEY DON'T BUT ONE OF THOSE BOYS HAS BEEN IN PRISON FOR 10 MONTHS – DO YOU KNOW WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO SOMEONE IN PRISON – A ADULT PRISON AT THAT??? – BUT YOU BEING THE CHRISTIAN WHITE PERSON YOU ARE J.B. OF BOSTON, MA AND CHRISTIAN OF SELDEN, NY. – IF YOU DON'T SEE THIS AS A WRONG DOING THEN YOU BOTH ARE JUST AS BAD AS THE DA WHO BROUGHT THE CHARGES OF ATTEMPTED MURDER AGAINST 3 INNOCENT BOYS AS WELL AS AGAINST 3 BOYS GUILTY OF A SCHOOL YARD FIGHT...NOT ATTEMPTED MURDER...AND IF WE ARE GONN START THIS CRAZP THEN WE NEED TO BRING THESE CHARGES AGAINST ALL PEOPLE WHO GET INTO FIGHTS ONT HE STREETS, AT THE BAR, AND AT SCHOOL AND LETS CHARGE THE ELEMENTARY KIDS WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER AS WELL...JUST B/C THESE KIDS ARE BLACK AND POOR DOESN'T MEAN THEY ARE ANY MORE EVIL THAN THEIR WHITE COUNTERPARTS WHO DID THE SAME THING...I CAN'T BELIEVE ANYONE WOULD DARE TO SAY THEY DESERVE WHAT THEY ARE GETTING ESPECIALLY IN OUR BELOVED CHRISTAIN NATION "ONE NATION UNDER GOD"....YEA RIGHT...EXCEPT FOR THE POOR, BROWN AND DARE I SAY THE BLACK

    September 19, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Jan waldron

    Are you kidding me? Jesse, you need to pause, step back and get a grip. I'm thinking what the blaCK COMMUNITY DOES not NEED, IS THIS "ARE YOU BLACK ENOUGH?" crap.' How about, is he man enough, he is brave, smart, sincere enough? Moreover, Obama IS white. His mother is white, and he therefore is.
    O jesse, stop. It's not about YOU.

    September 19, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    People still listen to Jesse Jackson?Why? All he wants to do is get in front of the cameras..

    September 19, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Tracy-Cincinnati, OH

    Another form of black on black crime. Let's stop hating on each other IN PUBLIC!

    September 19, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Bob LaFavor, Woodinville, WA

    Jesse is and always has been bent on 'acting black' and ambulance chasing so called 'black' causes. His act is old. Tried and failed. A miserable point person. Decent, GOD fearing HUMAN should be the true goal towards which to strive.

    Obama may talk in different tones to different groups. But so does Queen Hillary. And, black folks actually buy the act. That's why 'wanna be' leaders continue to talk down to them.

    Black folks should stand with PRIDE in being decent HUMAN. So should WHITE folks. GOD created everyone EQUALLY. Stand up for GOD and stand up for HIS principles. Give the credit to GOD.

    In Jesus name.

    September 19, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Ben, Bloomington, IL

    If you want Jesse Jackson to go away, boycot the media. They're the reason he still gets attention. And that means the American people are at fault...because they eat this stuff up and it gets ratings for Media organizations. So, much like the boogeyman, if you stop paying attention to the "Reverend Jackson" he will probably go away.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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