September 19th, 2007
06:10 PM ET
3 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. Anonymous

    The main point that continues to elude most of you commenting on this site is that a group of whites FIRST attacked a single black kid and nothing happened! Then this white kid went to school the next day bragging about what they did to the black kid and call those "Jena 6" racial names. They should have kept their composure, but they reacted like kids and jumped on the white kid. My questions is this, why were the white kids punished for attacking the black kid and the black kids were punished for attacking the white kid. That is the root of all the problem in this country. Justice is not carried out equally under the law

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. John, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Another racist statement by a race baiter. This should be condemned as blatant racism. Unfortunately mainstream media is afraid to because it is politically incorrect. Shame on Jesse Jackson.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Joann, Jacksonville Florida

    How does Jesse Jackson define “acting white”?
    I believe Sen. Obama is an educated civilized politician who makes rational decisions based on acts not skin color; does this mean he is not a black man? It is obvious that Mr. Jackson continues to view black and white as good and bad. It is no wonder he was not elected into office.
    We are beyond the time when skin color summed up who you are. Unfortunately, people like Jesse Jackson will continue to use racial profiling as justification for political behaviors.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Dan, Indianapolis, IN

    Acting like he's white? What does that mean? Acting like he's educated? He is well spoken. Is he supposed to dumb himself down?

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Sandi, Bossier City, Louisiana

    What an idiot!!! Don't you see, Jesse is trying to go down in history as the next Martin Luther King. Not even in the same category honey. I suggest you shut your pie hole because nobody respects you anyway buddy! This takes the cake though. You must have really regretted making that statement.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Leesa Orton, Saint Inigoes, MD

    Mr. Jackson,
    If you truly wish to create a world free of racism and bigotry, I suggest you start cleaning your own home first. Your alledged comments about Mr. Obama "acting white" are incredibly short-sighted and inflammatory. Such statements continue to foster an "us vs. them" mindset which is nether helpful or becoming.

    Ask yourself why you are so concerned about the "Jena 6"...is it because they were confronted with nooses (a truly heinous reminder of our shameful past as a nation)? Ask youself why you did not feel compassion for their victim. He did not hang the nooses. He was attacked BECAUSE OF HIS RACE. You cannot cry pity for the injustice for his attackers without sparing some for thier victim.

    If you truly consider yourself a reverend, a man of God, please do not allow yourself to be blind to the value of ALL his people.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Mike Dayton, Ohio

    How does someone "act white"? Jesse Jackson is completely ignorant and hypocritical. It's that kind of mindset that perpetuates the race barrier. Fortunately many of the 10 and under generation of today don't even recognize a difference in race. Just the other day in my daughter's school, they were asked to cut and paste pictures from magazines to represent their family and my daughter (who is caucasian) used a picture of a young african american girl for herself. It gives me hope that some of the kids from my daughter's age group are colorblind.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Maggie hartment

    Jesse Jackson is always there for the spotlight but never there for the true help. Where was he when the Duke situation changed? I think he made a poor statement...what does acting white mean? How do you "act black". It offends me and I am black.

    September 19, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Goaway Jesse

    Hmmmm...I am a white man if I said that someone was "acting black", wouldn't that be a racist comment? Just curious

    Go away Jesse

    September 19, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Tera, St Paul, MN

    Jesse Jackson is THE single biggest idiot there is.....PERIOD!

    September 19, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Melissa, Columbia, NC

    Isn't this called "reverse racism"? How do white people act??

    It's people like Jesse Jackson that keep racism running rampant in this country. He's an idiot and should be ignored.

    September 19, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. JC Topeka, KS

    Acting like he's white, I am not sure what this means. I would say I want a canidate or even a United States Senator to act in a professional manner regardless of race. I am white, and I have expressed outrage over the events leading up to the incident and follow on reactions aimed at these teens in Jena, what does that make me other than an a concerned American. In a nut shell however, no one is clean in this incident. The school and community did not react properly from the outset nor did the students conduct themselves in a manner to gain much compassion. There are deep problems within this community, and while the Rev Jackson has done many good things in his life, comments such as this and attacks against Senator Obama create racial tensions that serve no purpose other than garnish headlines and stir up bad blood. Rev Jackson could serve a much better good if he went to Jena and attempted to help in healing the rift within the community rather than seek headlines and make the divid even greater.

    September 19, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Bev, Dallas TX

    Of course, CNN is as racist as the next news channel, and might I add a lot of posters are as well. Jesse says he didn't say this, and if he did, it was ignorant. Praise God for Rev Sharpton or you devils would continue with the public lynchings. Remain in hell.

    September 19, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Such a shame that someone who was once such an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement in this country has degenerated into nothing more than a special interest hack with no credibility whatsoever.

    Jackson is a blight on society and does nothing to further the interests of African-Americans in this country. For the sake of us all, please quit!

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Vicky, Saginaw Michigan

    every time there is a story in the news that involves blacks and whites, Jesse Jackson has to get his big mug in there to turn it all into a racial issue. he needs to go away, i am tired of seeing his face and hearing his name in the news

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Educated BLACK Male Richmond, VA

    Ok First of all let me say this LEARN HOW TO READ AND RESEARCH BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH. I am a black male and I attend a prestigious all white school and believe me the racism in this century still exist believe it or not. What saddens me the most is that someone of my own culture would attack one of their own. Secondly the media has control of this country and they make you believe what they want you to believe. The Jena 6 situation goes further back than the 6 black students beating the white students. It was actually the white students who started the whole up roar when they hung the nooses. I don't care who you are or what race your are THAT IS NOT A PRANK. It is ignorance on the part of the white students and ignorance on the part of the superintendent for not following through with the principles expulsion of the students who hung the nooses. Most importantly it's ignorance on the part of the parents. The mere fact that people still teach there children to hate other races is just pure IGNORANCE; I can't express that enough. The black students retaliated after constantly being made fun of for getting beat up the previous night at the party, by an WHITE ADULT MALE. So there for it was retaliation. I would go further into the story but I don't want to put to much stress on all the the ignorant people who made ignorant comments brains. LET'S TRY DOING SOME RESEARCH YOU IDIOT'S. I don't condone anyones actions in this situation, the students (black or white) or the administrations. Third as far as the DA goes. Where exactly did this guy go to law school, planet mars university. Wake up people, I am really ashamed to say that I live in the US, and it's because of situations and comments like these. As far as Jesse Jackson goes, How exactly do you act white. Because if acting white means being educated and knowing when to jump into certain situations then I must be as White as Barack Obama. This next line is not being said because I'm black but because I believe in the same values and ideas.

    Obama '08

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. N. Martin, Huntsville, Alabama

    The statement by Jesse Jackson saying Obama is acting like he is white, is proof that Jackson is prejudice as hell.

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. B. Stewart Anchorage Alaska

    I seem to remember white people getting harrassed over saying the opposite things and losing their jobs over similar comments. I have listened to this man all my life and am tired of hearing it anymore, he doesn't have to like him or vote for him. Can't he just be happy that an intelligent well dressed black man is a serious possiblity for pres., or is he just jelous that it's not him.

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Pam Gibbs, Panama City, Florida

    I am so sick of these "comments." Why can't the candidates just act like "Americans" and do what is best for ALL the people in this country. I wouldn't care at this point, if our leaders were purple or orange. JUST DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE and quit wasting time and energy on stupid, unnecessary things.

    September 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. lavelle Rochester,ny

    http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2001/01/19/scandal/index.html

    ^^^He jessie this buds for you! check this link on the "King of all Black" I think any black person with any sense will just ignore what this retard has said. It's border line black on black crime if you ask me. And you have the nerve to talk down on drug dealers and womanizers.

    September 19, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Coach Haughton

    Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.

    We need to see visual evidence of this tom from Macon. I think maybe this is hearsay?
    It is a sad day for America when people regurgitate political propaganda as if it were factual. You need to get off the crackpipe.

    And Jesse Jackson and people like him are doing more to oppress black people than anyone else.
    Stop telling people they are not equal because it is politically advantageous for you. You are more of a scumbag than Hillary or Tom from Macon.

    September 19, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Adam, Des Moines, IA

    Jesse Jackson brings race into too many situations. His actions, at times, advocate racism instead of diminishing it. By saying someone is "acting white" is a racisit comment in itself; as if to say this action was wrong. Please do not think that I am advocating that "white" actions are the correct ones; everyone makes good and bad decisions.

    September 19, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Henry C Thomas, Greensboro, NC

    I would like make it perfectly clear, i'm an American with darkskin. If the Rev Jackson said what is accused of saying about Senator Obama, then he is out of line. As for the Jenna6, they were wrong for allowing their emotions to get away them, also the kid who was beaten is also responible,because he was part of the gang of kids that hung the rope on the tree, the law enforcement and the school administrators acted in a very negative way in this situation. Because the white kids in this situation walked away clean and they started this whole nasty mess. An for the Rev Jackson and Rev Sharpton, they have been out there fighting the good fight for justice a long time, my hats off to them, they spoke up when nobody else would, so i don't need white american telling me who i can and cannot listen to you have David Duke, Sean Hannety, have it, they are both idoit, but you listern to them anyway, your business, not mine, this is American a free country within the bound of a just constitution, read it sometime, if you can, which is not the case with some you.

    September 19, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Wallace, Chicago, IL

    "Jena would not have happened if black boys hadn't beat up white boys."

    Do some research first before spewing this nonsense. Do you even know the details about Jena? Do you know what Jena is? It's more than what you're talking about... do the research. Do you really think everyone under the sun would be supporting the people from Jena if it was as simple as that?

    These comments are ridiculous. Not to market for them or anything, but check this out tomorrow.

    Justice in Black & White
    CNN's Kyra Phillips gets to the heart of a racial crisis gripping a small southern town. A story of justice in black & white. Tomorrow, 8 p.m. ET

    September 19, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Jim Peters, Bonner Springs, KS

    So Jackson and Sharpton criticize Obama for "acting white". You can bet that nobody will accuse Jackson or Sharpton of "acting smart" because they arn't.
    Why does the media give those two clowns any attention?Time after time they have been wrong in what they say.

    September 19, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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