September 19th, 2007
06:10 PM ET
7 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. Tired of the race card, Lansing MI

    Jackson needs to go back in the hole he crawled out of! I think anybody who tries to bring race into anything in this day and age should be ashamed of themselves. Jackson doesn't know color from anything. How many "white" women has he been with??

    September 19, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Liz Atlantic City,NJ

    What a foolish comment made by Jesse Jackson

    September 19, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. P

    While I won't go as far as to say "Obama is acting white," I will say that as a half black man, particularly, he should speak out vs the injustices being committed in Jena, that is, if he feels there are injustices. I view his post-charge reduction comments ("I am pleased that the Louisiana appeals court ...")as an extremely weak attempt to say something (albeit something lacking substance)on the matter while ensuring that that comment is safe enough as to not alienate potential voters. Doesn't he realize that he can't please everyone? Someone, somewhere is bound to be alienated on on some thing. A political candidate's actions during the campaign will only be magnified if elected; therefore, Obama, take a real stance on the tough issues.

    September 19, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Atlas Collins

    Why is it OK for a half-black (Halle Berry, for example) to "act black", but it's not OK for a half-white (Obama) to "act white"?

    September 19, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Me, Streator IL

    If Jesse was a candidate he would be all over Jena? Didn't he lose two elections? The man is an idiot.

    September 19, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. frank merritt

    Jesse jackson Is an irrelevant figure in politics and civil rights and has no right to criticize Mr. Obama whether he can recall his statement or not. Some old phonies just need to keep their mouths shut and he's one of them. The press needs to stop feeding this frauds ego with perint and air time.

    September 19, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Rob Sharkey, Trumansburg NY

    If in fact Mr Jackson commented that Obama is "acting white" where is the outcry that he is making racsist remarks....since when did "acting white" become negative. Of course thats until you mix in ignorant or prejudiced but of course it appears that is something Mr Jackson is far more familiar with

    September 19, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Mark, Jackson, Mississippi

    Talk about O.J. being narcissistic, wasn't it Jesse Jackson who rushed to New Orleans and attempted to divide individuals who were already in peril? Remember Jesse talking about the "disenfranchised" absent voters of New Orleans during the mayoral race? No matter who won the election, a legal challenge would be filed on behalf of all of those absentee voters. Well, an African American won, was there any challenge filed? NO! I guess because an African American won, the race then became legitimate? Be proud of your ethnicity and Jesse has aided the civil rights movement, but if you are a civil rights activits, there are many others of all ethnic backgrounds who are also treated unjustly.

    September 19, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Ben, Las Vegas, NV

    Jessie is an idiot! If he knew anything about Obama, he would know that his mother was a "White" woman!! Duh Jessie!

    September 19, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Chris, Orlando

    I am sure there will be outrage in the Liberal Media......NOT!

    September 19, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. iz, Queens New York

    This is sad. People have to appreciate the thin line Obama has to walk. He cannot be seen as addressing matters, especially civil right matters from the perspective of people like Jessee Jackson. At no time as Obama acted white. Besides, what's acting black or white anyway.

    September 19, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Alicia J Philadelphia Pa

    Why has it taken so long for Mr. Jackson's voice to be heard on this issue.As we usually do as a people we pull each other down like crabs in a basket. Instead of focusing on the very,very serious matter in Jena, La ; now I suppose this will become an issue of how black are you.....
    Give me a break Mr. Jackson,this is not the time or place....those six wonderful young men should be our only concern at this point and time.
    How Black are you that you would even raise this issue.

    September 19, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Denise, Utica, MI

    Where was Jackson when the Duke case was thrown out. He never said those charges were inappropriate.

    It goes both ways, and to Mr. Jackson there is one kind of person – HUMAN. We are all created equal – try to remember that and not try to divide the races every chance you get. Also remember Mr. Obama is half white, not that it really matters.

    September 19, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. GHunter Alabama

    Okay, people are wondering there is racial incidents. Because blacks are against blacks; whites against whites. All of this is stupid. There is "no such animal as acting white" Obama is who he is; like him or don't but please keep stupid comments to yourself Jesse.

    September 19, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Leigh, NY, NY

    I'm half Black, half Spanish, born in Asia, and French-speaking. But to look at me, you'd see a black woman (and yes, given my top tier school education I've heard the "acting white" comment more times than I'd like to). I appreciate someone like Obama. Hes a citizen of the world, a product of the melting pot, the future.

    Hate is an ugly look. I'll bet Jesse surrendered himself to the idea that there wouldn't be a black president in his lifetime and now that another black man has a fighting chance (I don't want to hear the halfsies argument – when you look at Obama, you see a black man) he realizes that we just didn't want HIM in office. And I'm glad he lost given his actions in the past 15 years acting like the spokesperson for black people perpetuating the stereotypes (though had he won, i'd like to think it would be a different country). Yeah Jesse may express a valid OPINION once every 5th issue or so but I like my black politicians to be a little more worldy than he is. In my opinion, Jesse is not someone Obama should take political advice from.

    And the real issue has yet to be touched upon...6 black kids were just arrested. I'm surprised its not bigger news, but I'm not surprised to hear of Jesse's self-elected involvement.

    September 19, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Colette Duranleau, Denver, Colorado

    Senatory Obama is a United States Senator running for President of the United States. You, who ran who two failed presidential campaign, have a right to your opinion but don't be surprised by smackdown of responses to your assessment of Senator Obama's campaign. You want attention and so you say things designed to attract it. Things an older, wiser, educated, experienced leader knows better than to say. Your comments are cheap shots showing yourself to be less concerned with progress than being the center of attention. You sir, are the one that should be ashamed.

    September 19, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Obama, here in the USA!

    If your a black man that is educated, Jesse doen't want to talk to you. If you are un educated, he wants to help. WTF???!!! Throw this man and Al Sharpten into jail forever. I am sick of hereing the same old BS. They are racist SOBs.

    September 19, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. M.K. Nashville TN

    Where is the focus in our country? On racially charged issues and stories, that's where.

    Comments for Jesse Jackson's comments on Obama acting white and a congressman making remarks about Jews number over 100 and yet the real stories, like when are our leaders going to set some deadlines for this war to end (laughable since we will be in Iraq for years and years to come) and bring (the majority of) our young men and women home garner less than 25 comments.

    Why is America still so racially charged? Have we not learned our lessons from the past? We want to go into a country and stop the wrongs of others and we can't even live peacefully amongst ourselves? How can we be so focused on the colors of our skin, the religions we practice, things that do not define what a person is on the inside, when we claim ourselves to be the land of the free and equal opportunity for all?

    What is wrong here America?

    Ask yourselves that.

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. JimR

    "I am pleased that the Louisiana state appeals court recognized that the aggravated battery charge brought in this case was inappropriate."

    What he should have said was:

    "Yo, whassup!!!! Man, I be aieeet wid da court taking the heat off my homeboy, you know what I'm sayin'?"

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Eduardo, Los Angeles, CA

    Reverend Jackson, "a member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church," should try to unite people not create further distance.

    Additionally, the hyphen should stop being used. I believe this only divides this nation further. For obvious reasons, we are all Americans.

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Evan, New York, NY

    Barack Obama: Jackson's 'acting like he's relevant'

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Bill Charleston SC

    Dr Martin Luther King said that he hoped that "Negro children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    How sad it is that those who profess to follow in the footsteps of Dr King work to divide this country racially rather than unite us racially as Dr King tried to do.

    Jesse Jackson has used Dr King's legacy to further his own agenda, and that agenda is Jesse Jackson. Personally, when he speaks, I tune him out.

    Dr Alan Keyes is much better qualified to speak on racial issues because he is not interested in self promotion, he is truly interested in the welfare of our nation.

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Nancee Holland, Austin, TX

    I think Jessie Jackson is MORE racist than anyone!!!!! How dare he say Obama is acting "WHITE", justice will be served accordingly black or white. I get tired of hearing Jackson and Sharpton saying racist things against all white people. These are suppose to be religious men at that!!!!

    September 19, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Phil

    What is acting white? This rings of a racial epithet. I was under the impression that Mr. Jackson was color blind. Just goes to show you can never get past what you really are.

    September 19, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. C. Shill, Ohio

    If you want to get elected, you might want to act white. Otherwise, you will get nowhere.

    September 19, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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