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. Terri, Charlotte, NC

    I'm still waiting on that apology from Jackson and Sharpton, for their involvement in the Duke lacrosse fiasco. They sure can find time to incite racial tension when it behooves them, but where were they when the lacrosse boys were acquitted???

    September 19, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. CYNTHIA, LITTLE ROCK, AR

    I AIN'T LISTENING TO JESSE – ALL HE DOES IS DIVIDE THE BLACK COMMUNITY AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED OBAMA DOES MORE TO UNITE THE BLACK COMMUNITY AS WELL AS UNITE THE WORLD...ON ANOTHER NOTE – HOW DARE JB OF BOSTON AND CHRISTIAN OF SELDON, NY SAY THAT WE AS BLACK SHOULDN'T TAKE UP THE PLIGHT OF THESE 6 BOYS – ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? YOU TO GUYS ARE RACIST!!! BOTTOM LINE AND I NEVER USE THAT WORD LOOSELY...THE WHITE BOYS WHO PULLED A GUN ON THE BLACK KIDS AND THE 3 WHITE BOYS WHO BEAT UP THE BLACK BOY BEFORE THIS ALL HAPPENED GOT SLAPS ON WRIST!! THE GUY WHO PULLED GUN GOT NOTHING AND THE 3 WHITE BOYS WERE SUSPENDED FOR 3 DAYS A PIECE BUT SOMEHOW IF YOU ARE BLACK AND GET INTO A FIGHT B/C THE PRECIOUS WHITE BOY WAS CALLING YOU NAME THEN YOU ARE MUCH MORE EVIL THAN YOUR BETTER WHITE COUNTERPARTS...GIVE ME A BREAT...3 OF THE BLACK BOYS BEING CHARGED WERE NOT EVE INVOLVED IN THE FIGHT WHICH IS CONFIRMED BY TEACHERS AT THE SCHOOL...THE OTHER THREE ONLY USED THEIR FISTS AND SHOES HOWEVER YOUR PRECIOUS WHITE CHILDREN IN THEIR FIGHT WITH THE BLACK BOY BROKE A BOTTLE OVER THE BOYS HEAD – NOW TELL ME DO BLACK CHILDREN DESERVE ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGES AND AT THIS POINT THEY HAVE SPENT 10 MONTHS IN PRISON AND YOUR PRECIOUS WHITE CHILDREN GET 3 DAYS SUSPENSION AND CONTINUED EDUCATION AND THE PROPS OF ALL YOU WHITE PEOPLE IN TOWN FOR TAKING DOWN A NICCA...YOU PEOPLE ARE A TRIP...IF WE ARE ALL EQUAL UNDER GOD THEN YOU WOULDN'T DARE TO OBJECT THAT WE GO TO JENA TO CHECK ON WHY OUR KIDS ARE BEING TREATED LIKE ANIMALS!!! AND THESE DID DO NOT HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS AS YOU MISQUOTED – 1 HAS A RECORD AND THAT STILL DOESN'T MEAN HE HAS TO BE CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER – PLEASE

    September 19, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Jennifer L., Oklahoma City, OK

    I have been considering voting for Obama because of his intelligence, honesty, apparent wisdom, and the fact that he is running as a person rather than a member of a particular race. However, if this is going to turn into a racial stand, fiasco or embarassment, I will stay far away from any of the Democratic candidates. I truly hope that Mr. Obama is wise enough to ignore the ignorant rantings of the likes of Jesse Jackson.

    September 19, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. G.S., Hopkinsville, KY

    Personally, I feel that Jesse Jackson is one of the most racist people in the American media... Yes, we should work on improving race relations, but Jesse is not the man who is going to help the situation. We need someone like Bill Cosby in Jesse's place.

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

    Who is Barack Obama?
    > >
    > >
    Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu , Hawaii , to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel , Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita , Kansas Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii . When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father Returned to Kenya His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim From Indonesia.
    > >
    When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia . Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta . He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He Is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school." Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best.
    > >
    In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over His son's education.
    >
    Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta . Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.
    > >
    Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking Major public office in the United States , Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
    > >
    Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.
    > >
    Please forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level.
    > >
    This is true.
    > >
    WOW…SCARY THOUGHT!!!.. Certainly something to think about!
    >

    Posted By Tom, Macon Ga : September 19, 2007 2:04 pm

    ^^^are you saying you have a problem with muslims? my goodness who cares about what you posted it has nothing to do with the topic.

    September 19, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Will, Stafford, VA

    First let me say that Jesse Jackson doesn't represent every black in America. As for Obama, he has the ability to interact with people on all levels, that's a gift that Jesse probably wishes he possess.
    Just reading some of the comments on here I see that a lot of you are still in denial about what's going on in America. Please read the whole story about what took place in Jena before making your idiotic comments. Furthermore it just sounds like the kid got his ass kicked real good.. I guess we don't remember those days. I fault the 6 black kid's parents for not teaching them that being black and re-acting to situations with violence historically result in no win situations. Semper Fidelis!

    September 19, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. DBailey, Houston, TX

    Jackson and Sharpton are racist lunatics who seek only to divide our society, and receive far more media attention than they deserve. Intelligent people of all colors will shun them as they rightly would an outspoken member of KKK.

    September 19, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. mike,dallas texas

    The media needs to be all over him just as if a white person calling someone black

    September 19, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Kelly

    What the heck Jesse you moron? Did he notice Barack's Momma was white?

    September 19, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Calgary, Alberta

    What does it act like to be white?

    If law enforcement arrested people because the are accused of the crime, should EVERYONE act the same and ensure that the streets are keep safe..

    September 19, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Peter Yaun/Saint Simons Island, GA

    Hey Jesse,
    Is your comment the same as saying
    "Hillary is acting too much like a man?" Why don't you act like a grown-up and put those racial slurs behind your so-called REV. title. You should be ashamed for keeping us in the Dark Ages, which I might add, Jesse, is a
    period of history, not a slur!

    September 19, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Kathleen, San Diego, CA

    Jesse Jackson had two failed attempts at running for president. Who is he to tell Barack Obama how to run a campaign? Perhaps the reason that Mr. Jackson did not get very far in his bid for the White House is that he underlined the fact that he's black, instead of making it a non-issue. It shouldn't matter what color a person is! Act like a presidential candidate and not an ethnicity, religion, or gender and maybe this country can progress.

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. tim(atlanta)

    Jesse jackson is just saying anything to get his name in the papers. There are innocent black men in jail that they can stand behind. These 6 black teenagers assaulted somebody. The justice system only works for those with money. What the hell does acting white mean? I guess he isn't ghetto enough for him. Obama is a good man with good ideas. Who cares what color he is or acts

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. BCNU purple state, usa

    I have to agree with the Rev. on this one! Obama's acting like he's at least half-white. Maybe he should have said:

    "The truth of this tragedy is that the man sits high, looks low, keeps his eye on the sparrow. He has shown us that we have so much money and so much power to go around the world and solve other peoples' problems but we can't solve our own problems. Martin Luther King took us to the mountain top: I want to take us to the bank.
    “I’m a candidate of the people for the people and by the people and my magic lies in my people ties. I’m a promoter of America. I’m American people. You know what I mean? So therefore, uh, do not send for who the bell tolls ’cause the bell tolls for thee. I’m one of the world’s great survivors. I’ll always survive because I’ve got the right combination of wit, grit and bulls#!t. If you cast your bread upon the water and you have faith, you’ll get back cash. If you don’t have faith, you’ll get soggy bread. These students can put dope in their veins or hope in their brains. If they can conceive it and believe it, they can achieve it. They must know it is not their aptitude but their attitude that will determine their altitude."

    At the end he could add multiple quad or penta syllabic words that rhyme but don't mean anything ... Maybe he'd pass Jesse's litmus test then.

    Jesse's a joke!

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Tone - Tampa, FL

    Sounds pretty rascist to me! Didn't know there was a way to "act white" or any other color. Unless, of course, we are all going to start basing our lives on silly stereotypes.

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Darnell, Alpharetta Georgia

    Jesse Jackson is not a voice for anyone other than Jesse Jackson. Don't tell Jesse to get out of the spotlight! Tell the spotlight owners to stop shining it on those who bring this negativity...Which they consistently do!
    The boy that was beat up was not almost killed! I'm from Central Louisiana! His injuries didn't require anything more than a regular childhood skirmish...ICE and a band-aid! Jeff in Arlington, VA – This case wouldn't have been tried in Adult Courts if a black boy would have been beat up with VERY MINOR injuries in Jena and Joe in D.C. – Are you saying that anything other than white is uncivilized please clarify!

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Tim Elliott, Dothan Alabama

    Isn't this comment highly contradictive to what Jesse Jackson is all about? If you ask me, looks like Jackson just pulled a "Don Imus" by foolishly and publicly making a racially charged statement. Oh, the irony.

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. James, Jena

    Posted By Rhonda VA : September 19, 2007 1:56 pm
    you are the idiot, have you ever been to Jena? Id say more of us are racially tolerant than racist. When you do not drop the race topic how do you expect it to go away?

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. MC for Obama

    Tom from Macon, GA

    Sounds like you and the rest of the former Swift Boat people are jumping on a new wagon of lies. Stick to the issues and the real truth, Obama is a confirmed Christian. Just because you attend a school in a predominatly Muslim Country doesn't make you muslim.

    The following links from independent websites may help to correct the "truth"

    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_barack_obama_muslim.htm

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

    September 19, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Kimberly, Weldon, NC

    Jesse Jackson has never done anything for African Americans, other than use their struggles for media attention. Obama is a mixed American. So, I feel that itt was wrong for him to make such statements about the only African American presidential candidate. Would he consider Obama black if he was an adulterer?

    September 19, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Martin Luther Madison WI

    People like Jackson are Sharpton are constantly raising the race issue. It is people like them that keep racism alive and well.

    September 19, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Shannon, Los Angeles, CA

    As a black women, I can't stand Jessie Jackson, he doesn't speak for ME! And as a supporter of Barack, this will make me want to contribute more to his campaign.

    Jessie Jackson and his ilk are so irrelevant and over. BTW, doesn't Jessie need to be in Vegas to defend OJ?

    September 19, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Big T Deltona, FL

    Wow...I have heard plenty sides of both Jesse and Al...I never thought that they would be racist...lol thats a joke...lets be sirious. If you want an expert on how to play basket ball your gonna ask a professional player like Koby, so if you want to find out what is racist ask the professionals-Al sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I may not be black, but I love black women and people of all color. I have no problems with any one of a different color, but I do however have problems with racist people as well as the courts. Yeah obama will be a great presditen and he should not have to worry about what is going on with the jena 6. Lets be serious. these kids stompped a another student cause he was white...not that he had anything to do with the nooses, but white....mmmm...what is that al and jesse?? racist. the white kid was beat for being natrual(white). If they are responsible for beating this kid then yes they deserv the proper punishment....which if it was a bunch of white people they would get the same treatment(well thats how it should be). I don't believe life in jail, but 6-9 years would be extremly generous. I'm from Florida originally and so I have seen the courts go etreme. These kids do not deserv to walk out like nothing is wrong because their black, so now the motto is if your black its alright, but if your white be perpared to fight? Now I have to worry about a black guy beating me down cause I am white? or because I am white married to a black woman? or that my kids are half black? do I have to worry that if my children go to school their gonna be beatin and the people who did get to walk away like nothin happened? HELL no. I am an American. I elieve in equal rights for everyone...no matter race, religon, etheincity, or government stand point. Cause when it all boils down to the end we are humans who live in one of the most crooked nations in the world. We all know about our crooked government, but we don't act and the one's who do act....act a fool!! lets change this as a nation. There is no such thing as race our skin is just a shell and before we can come to trems with this we will not proceed in aking our nation better.. To all of the children and babies to come....I am truly sorry for what we have done. We have made a counrty and world horrible for children to be raised in. These are our problems that we pon off onto the future generations. Al, Bush, Clinton, Jackson, JFK, Lincoln, and etc.. are all liars and will be liars cause that is who we put in office, government branches, and most of all in the medias eyes....anyone seeing anything yet? no cause ya'll will stay lind to the truth. This is our fault.. its not white people, black people, terrorist, government, or any one else. Its our fualt.. Why don't you people(general to everyone)take responsiblity like your parents taut and fess up to the messes that have been created. Be men/women/AMERICAN!!!

    September 19, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Leo Bazile, New York, NY

    To one of the commenters on this page, this case is not just a bout some black kids beating the hell out a white kid. It's also about that same white kid being part of a mob the night before who cracked a bottle over one of the black kid's head and then bragging about it loudly in the school hall the next day how they bashed that n***ger over the head last night. He definitely wasn't innocent.

    September 19, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. John Chamberlain Sturgis, SD

    It's ironic that Jackson's own words are bigoted, and he continues to perpetuate the idea that white, and black are different.
    Jackson's better days as a civil rights voice is over, his words end up dividing "people" into colors. He continues to define the differences between people in terms of "pigmentation".

    September 19, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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