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. b c hall, san diego, ca

    Jackson is a relic of the past. he is a representative of the school of thought that believes that one can act a color. which is sad, because if that's true, to act black is to eschew education, worship sports, foment the belief that opportunity for socio-economic progress for black people in America is impossible, promote the belief that the man is out to get us. if there is such a thing as acting black, there is nothing positive about it. what does the average person think when he thinks of "acting black"?

    September 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Jenn, Decatur, AL

    Tom from Macon Ga, You are SCARY. You have massaged the truth to spin your ignorance. Barack has never been a Muslim, not that that's a bad thing, and the school he attend was non-denominational. You are twisted.
    Read this:,9171,1546298,00.html

    Maybe this will help you.

    As far as the Jena 6, I do think the DA is overreaching. Young people of color have to realize that revenge is not yours. Even if it started with a noose or another student being beaten, you have to outthink your opponent. If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with flees. You have to be the smart one. These same kids that were taunting these black kids will most likely grow up to be nothing, because their minds are limited. You have to presevere against negativity sometimes because it is only a test to see how grounded you are.

    September 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Tom - FWB, Florida

    Jackson is nothing more than an instigator. He talks of equality but does nothing more than muddy the waters with his racist talk an behavior. How can anyone call him reverend – The man is the biggest biggot in the world. He makes Archie Bunker seem like Mother Theresa.

    September 19, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Evelyn C. Kelly, Chicago, Illinois

    HUUUH? Barack is both white and black. Is this the one drop rule? My children are mixed Afrian and Irish American and I am offended that this comment was made. Can Barack deny his mother? Dear God, I am absolutley appalled at the insensitivity and arrogance of Reverand Jackson's remarks. How can Barack deny half of his heritage? Or the flip side is he "black enough" is exactly why race needs to come out of every reference. Ultimately, we are HUMANS, end of story.

    September 19, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Shannon, Detroit Michigan

    To blast Obama for not being black enough is stupidity. Because he speaks correctly, and dresses accordingly, doesnt make him "to white". It makes him successful. I am so sick of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and there kind. I think that we still have progress that needs to be made for the black community. They make most Americans look at the issue and think, Oh god here we go again.

    September 19, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Jim L.

    Jessie Jackson, shove it up your Azzzz.

    September 19, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. C. Baugh, Ft. Walton Beach, FL

    Jesse Jackson, please be quiet. You have not a clue about anything, except being an ambulance chaser. Too bad you didn't try to speak as the educated man you supposedly are. Stay strong Senator Obama, many are hoping you can bring the change that Jesse and Al Sharpton have lost their way and their minds on.

    September 19, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. ron,sanford,florida

    Mr. Jackson should also be remembered for his "HYMIETOWN" slur on Jews years ago. Je was never held accountable for that. He and Sharpton were not taken to task when they went out of their way to accuse the "white" Duke players
    of rape and assault. They always seem to stir up the masses and then disappear when something goes against them.

    September 19, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. A. Simpson

    Jackson's accusing Obama of "acting white"? How very black of him 🙂 Seems almost every time there's a difference of opinion, that old race card comes out of the inner pocket.

    September 19, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. lavelle Rochester,ny

    All of you should b ashamed of yourself, Jesse marched side by side with the late great Marting Luther King, Jesse is a civil rights pioneer, and if your black and making comments against Jesse you should smack yourselfd in the mouth and F.Y.I. the white boy that got the crap beat out of him, was released from the hospital the same day so he wasn't that injured, but go ahead White America laugh it up case ya'll finally got O.J. you've been trying from day one, and as for the the culture that glorifies sexism, violence and gangsterism, that's how America was created, we're a product of our enviroment, white folk taught us all that stuff, PEACE.
    In response I write;
    You are an example of the intelligence bracket that people like Karl Rove and Jesse Jackson seek to victimize. I don't know who is dumber. You or Tom from Macon with his Obama is muslim slander.

    Posted By Coach Haughton : September 19, 2007 4:41 pm


    September 19, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Atlanta, Georgia

    I think that this shows a sign of ignorance on Rev. Jackson behalf. Its amazing how blacks try to hold one another down. Being that this is his opinion, it should have never been expressed to the public. If we can't support one another as a race, we will never have a Black President....

    September 19, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Alex, NY, NY

    This is what I call "black on black", mud throwing. Give it up JJ, you had your chance at the lime light, when you ran and failed miserably and when your secret "boo" had a baby. Go and be a good "baby's daddy", and stop hating.....

    September 19, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Gillian San Diego, CA

    As a half white/black woman, I love how black people claim us when it is convient to them (Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, etc.) and break us down when we are not black enough (Vanessa Williams). Lets not forget Obama is half white and half black so he can act however he feels.

    September 19, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. IT, NYC

    WOW! Its incredible that people still believe that there are in fact "races" we are all one race - its called the Human Race. Homo Sapien Sapien to be precise, and scientific. The amount of melanin in your skin and the differences in bone structure, blood type etc are simple Genetic differneces, but in fact do not classify us as differenct "races" - anyone with compatible blood can donate an organ to you regardless of skin color. The fact that more leaders are not making this point is horrific and just shows how they use the concept of race to benfit them when its there to be benefitted from. The entire concept is FALSE AND WRONG! and MADE UP!

    September 19, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. John, Buffalo, NY

    If Mr. Jackson did indeed make these comments, then he needs to apologize. If a white person stated that another person was "acting like he was black", this would be a bigger story. Come on people, let's stop allowing racist comments from BOTH sides.

    September 19, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Nick, Miami, FL

    Jackson is a piece of trash.

    September 19, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Mark, Indianapolis IN

    Mr. Jackson should have to apologize for his comments. Any white public figure would have had to apologize if they made similar comments about acting “black”. Since when is acting "white" or “black” unacceptable, isn’t it simply a sub-culture? It sounds like Mr. Jackson does not respect people as much if they act white. How is that not racist?

    BTW- Technically Obama is half white. So either Obama should shun at least one of his parent's cultures OR Mr. Jackson should stop talking and apologize to people who appreciate other cultures as well as their own.

    September 19, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Joe, Cleveland Ohio

    Everyone Knows Jesse Jackson is a vile racist. Most media and politicians are just afraid to say it. But the average person can hear it and see it in his actions. I bet MLK is rolling over in his grave ashamed he was ever Jesse's friend.

    September 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Chuck, Pollock Pines, California

    Easy to see why Jesse has not been elected to a local, state or federal office - he can't distinguish small from important, and is only interested in racial issues.

    September 19, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Diana, Roswell, GA

    Jackson makes every issue that involves a black a 'race' issue. He is all over anything he thinks can get him airtime and, unfortunately, we keep giving it to him. He needs to stay out of politics and act more 'reverent'. Many of the educated blacks that I know emphatically state that Jackson does not represent the opinions of most educated blacks.

    September 19, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Dave, Richmond Virginia

    Jackson is a racist and this further proves it. Maybe he'll end up in a civil suit for the inflammatory remarks he made during situation is Durham with the white students form Duke. As for Jena, look at the picture of the student that had his head bashed in and see how much simpathy you have for these THUGS. Quit playing race and be accoutable. There is no wrong way to do right, and no right way to do wrong. BE ACCOUNTABLE!!

    September 19, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Daniel, Sacramento, CA

    Jesse Jackson is a racist, pure and simple. He is the first to cry foul when people make blanket statements about a race ie. Don Imus, but will openly make them himself. Saying Obama "acts like a white man" is a negative blanket stereotype that he is now directing at another black man. Its openly racist and he never gets called on it, just like he was never called on his racist statements against the Duke lacross players. When will everyone wake up and see Jesse for what he really is, a hatemonger.

    September 19, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Well Coach Haughton, that's why they call it America because your entitled to your opinion but then again at the same time insult me, that was very smart to, but on the other hand Obama doesn't know the struggles of a real BLACK AMERICAN so yes he's not getting my vote either, and this whole thread just mad me realize not only is racism alive and well it's also the divide and conquer approach, I'm not sure what your ethnicity is but if your BLACK, you go in the boujee negroes category.

    September 19, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Roberto Gutierrez, Portland, Oregon

    Jesse Jackson is a disgrace to civil rights and the movement. Relating behavior to race is appalling. Rev. Jackson needs to refrain from speaking in public.

    September 19, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Billy, Seattle, WA

    To Coach Haughton:

    OJ got himself! White America is not laughing, they are relieved that justice has finally been served! You are a loser just like Jesse Jackson.

    September 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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