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.

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (828 Responses)
  1. K P St. Louis, Mo.

    It amazes me how much reverse discrimination is allowed today. I'd be brought up on hate charges if I referred to someone as "acting black".

    September 19, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Bongie Manguino, San Jose, California

    But he is white, isn't he?

    September 19, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Thomas Beaufort SC

    Why isn't Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in Knoxville TN marching for Channon Christian and Chris Newsom who were raped cut in pieces and shot by 4 black men and 1 black women. I am so sorry I forgot they were white. They too were probably slave owners.

    September 19, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Paul J. G., Nags Head, North Carolina

    Is Obama acting white or educated Jesse Jackson? More than we can say for you! Regardless of your answer, you are more or less degrading your own race!!

    September 19, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Emmitt Bowles Chicago Il

    The city of Chicago has expeerienced an explosion in the number of Chicago area youths who are in school who have been murdered this year. It is quite ironic that Rev.Jackson feels the need to be involved in New Orleans when this tragedy keeps occurring inChicago.

    September 19, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. Chris, Philadelphia PA

    4 white lacrosse players allegedly rape an african american woman...jackson campaigns for the 4 white students' heads to roll.

    6 african american students assault a white student...jackson campaigns in defense of the african american students.

    RACISM in its purest form.

    September 19, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. S. Wright

    I wonder what Jackson thought of Hillary's "I ain't no-ways tired." pandering some months ago. Was she acting black?

    I get a kick out of Democrats trying to relate to people thinking that relating to someone means talking like them. As if emulating the lingo creates some kind of bond between regular folks and these limosine liberals.

    Jesse Jackson: Taking himself to the back of the bus one word at a time.

    September 19, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. K Vestal, Mesa, Arizona

    I thought Obama was acting like a human being.

    September 19, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Kathryn, Fullerton, California

    Jackson – stop "acting" prejudiced!!

    September 19, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Tony, Hymietown, NY

    Who's Jesse Jackson?

    September 19, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. barbara williams new york ny

    How on earth is this not racist??? "he's acting white"...if the same were said but one was "acting black" you would have al sharpton front and center demanding an explanation of what does acting black mean? why does jackson think that blacks are the only race that suffer from stero types???

    September 19, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. bob, boston Ma

    Yeah whose racist now!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. A Multiracial American, Northwest Ohio

    1) Regarding Jena: Few Whites will ever understand the terror that Blacks feel from seeing nooses hanging from a tree or a cross burning in your yard. It was NOT a harmless prank; it was a 200+ year old tactic used to promote fear and submission. That does NOT excuse the brutalizing of the White student, but perhaps it can help explain why the reaction to the unequal distribution of justice is so volatile there.

    2) Regarding Obama's comments versus Clinton's: I find it interesting that HIS comments are being criticized when HERS are obviously the ones pandering to the Black vote...

    3) Regarding Jesse Jackson: Sigh... his methods worked when racism in the US was rampant and blatant; they do not work today when racism is subtle and so many Whites think it is a thing of the past... Rev. Jackson, no disrespect intended for your past accomplishments, but it is time for you to pass on the torch.

    September 19, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. DD Columbus, Ohio

    Tom, Macon, GA...get your facts straight all Muslims are of different races...even white...please I don't hear you saying anything about the KKK running the White House...oh sorry you must be a member of that group. Chris, well put and yes I know the story of Genarlow Wilson...Carmen, Los Angeles...ditto on enough of the African American...I am Black American and proud of it...but if we really want to keep it all real everyone in this world has something mixed in far as Mr. Jackson he's a done deal.

    September 19, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. No Room for Racism, Riverside, CA

    Mr. Jackson, Obama is not "acting" white, he is behaving in an intelligent and educated manner. Maybe you should try the same!

    September 19, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Pat, Minden, LA

    I am confused... If it was six white boys that almost killed and gay or black guy then it would be racial and everybody would want them in jail for ever. But now that it is six black boys that did it, they should go free so they can have a future?... What am I missing here? These boys need to be treated the same. Everyone is equal right? Or is that in some cases?

    September 19, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. D. Wright Orlando Florida

    Was Jessee acting "Black" when he condemmed the Duke Lacross players, but then did NOTHING in the form of an apology when they were aquitted.

    September 19, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Kwabena Dinizulu

    Yes, Jesse is messy but that is his schtik and he get's paid well for it. Let's not pretend "we" (as Afrikans n Amerikkka) believe or buy his rhetoric as a legitimate position or an accurate account of the collective thinking of Afrikans-n-Amerikkka, cause on the whole we do not have a collective thought or for that matter a thought of our own. "We" should know better but don't. I don't expect more from "white America" than what I've read posted here, (those unbiased and altruistic postings aside). This is a nation polarized by a gender/racial divide not "our" making, perpetuation or responsibility. Jesse and to some extent Rev. Sharpton, whom I've got much more respect for, capitalize on this fact/flaw. But, capital is the Amerikkkan way: To profit from the blood or sweat, joy or pain, of us all, either gainfully, politically or resourcefully. That is our common denominator but because "they" can't get beyond race and gender we will all be reduced to our individual parts. So, JB in Boston, Thomas in St. Pete., Christian in Seldon and the like will not see the light or injustice in black and white. Not surprising however, many of those respoding had not heard much about the Jena 6, Michael Vick and now O.J. dominating. Understand though, there had been beatings in Jena black and white since December and prior the charges leveied against the 6. And finally hanging nooses in a tree is not a slight, slur, horrible or racist it is a threat tantamount burning a cross on a lawn. But there in lies our differences in perception and definition. "White America" sees burning a flag a greater offense.

    September 19, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Wade, Houston TX

    That's the problem with Jesse and his ilk... while I feel they are representing their supporters and shedding light on problems that our country continues to have, Rev. Jackson sees the situation in Jenna as a defining moment in our country, while most of America sees it as an aberration in today's day and age.

    What he and his cronies need to realize is that their fervent focus on the bad merely rekindles the fires of intolerance that most of America has been trying to leave behind for decades.

    If he wants the problem to get better, he needs to quit diving Americans on the basis of race, and find ways to bring people together.

    Problem is, judging by his actions, I think we all know he doesn't want that.

    September 19, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. KM Kansas City MO

    Sounds like a racist comment.....Oh wait, since JJ is African American its ok to make comments like that.

    September 19, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. JB Boston MA

    OK- I am admitting after reading these posts to not know the whole story. I have looked online to get the WHOLE story, and unfortuntely am having a hard time For speaking without knowing the whole story, I am sorry for commenting. But clearly, many here don't. Can someone please post an address with the WHOLE story? I never heard the white student had a gun, nor did I hear he was at a party/school dance/wedding (more unknowns). If the white kid had a gun and threatened them with it, he deserves what he got, and the black students should be given an award. That is what I call self defense. Someone has got to have the real facts and all of the facts. Maybe CNN should stop wasting their time with silly little Britany stories and post some news. Tell us what really happened!!!!

    PS- I am so happy that EVERYONE is in agreement with Jesse needing to disappear

    September 19, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Suzette, Troutdale, OR

    This comment is EXACTLY what is wrong with America. Lovely comment there Mr. Jackson. So just what exactly does it mean to be "acting white" may I ask? The fact that he gets away with a racist comment like that because he's black is truly infuriating! Let's see how far a white political figure gets accusing a white presidential candidate of "acting black". Its complete BS!! Blacks get away with being racist and whites have to walk on eggshells every day. Goes hand in hand with all the scholarships available only to those that are black, or hispanic, or indian. But do whites get away with scholarship programs that are only for whites?!! No way, because THAT would be racist of course.

    September 19, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Vance, Hamilton, MT

    Obama acting white, this coming from the same mouth that said Elvis was acting black for singing gospel songs. Mr. Jackson, you still don't know when to shut up.

    September 19, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Anonymous Maurice Louisiana

    I think Jessie might be Jealous

    September 19, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. byron foster ,houston,tx

    i think it was a regular school fight,and the only reason they are in trouble is because they kicked there asses.if the white students had won there wouldn't be a problem.Jesse should have told the new president (OBAMA) in person,and not make such bold comments at a speech.Think Jesse Think!!

    September 19, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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