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. Anonymous

    Hey ther coach Haughton if your defending OJ and saying that white America is after him i think you should be Jesse Jackson's campaign leader. And it really does not matter how long the guy was in the hospital for 6 people kick the crap out of one person, that is called assault does not matter how bad he got hurt, the fact is he was attacked. Also, if you are a coach and you think like this then whatever team you do coach I think are all going to end up down the same road as these 6 kids. You talk like its still 1950 and that the black communtiy has the right to use force to get what they want, well guess what come into the modern world this shows that in the end blacks have more privelages that white people some just don't use them.

    September 19, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. esoteric, weston, fl

    Isn't it more productive to highlight the positive things about a fellow black candidate, Mr Jackson? THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO TEAR DOWN BUT, IT IS TIME TO BUILD UP. Black, yes black because just as Jena 6 has exposed once again, America is still divided. It's 1964 all over except now the disguises are more discreet but, as the nooses under "the white tree", prove just as racist and hurtful to a nation of blacks that have not been given fair chances as the justice system has proven. Hadn't it been for the widespread outcry about Jena 6, I'm sure that young man would be facing attempted murder charges. America wake up. Black and White is still an issue that is not dealt with because the people that make the laws still hold their 1964 racist views in their hearts. It's like arresting people who wear baggy pants and saying it's because you don't want to see their underwear when in fact it's more like, lets come up with another scheme to target black inner city youth.

    September 19, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Sarah Murfreesboro TN

    It is not much of a white man's world anymore. And that's good. African-Americans are inching their way out of the minority and the mexican population is taking over the minority now. Jesse Jackson should learn when to shut up. He seems like he doesnt want equal rights for african-americans, he seems like he wants them to be "victims" all the time, and its obvious that they are not. Some, I'm sure, want to still be considered a victim just so they can have someone else to blame when there life goes down the toilet. I'm so tired of all the racism crap out there! Let it go already!

    September 19, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. W/F sunrise, fl

    I'm sorry to say but I think Jesse Jackson is being extreamly RACIST and for some body that fights agint racism this is an out rage

    September 19, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Jerry, Holland OH

    Jesse Jackson is an irrelevent racist.

    September 19, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. BP, Columbia, S.C.

    All this crap makes my head spin. Judging by these comments it seems very few people are willing to look at all sides.

    Based on my reading of the events in Jena, the injustices taking place there are real, and not just in the case of this particular assault. I am an advocate of proper punishment for the six teens involved. But read the facts and you'll see how the legal system took this one and ran.

    But, I agree that Jackson's reaction to the matter in Jena has been undermined by his and other black leaders’ treatment of previous cases. Jackson and Sharpton are the same people who were all too happy to put the horse well in front of the cart when a rogue prosecutor was ruining three white kids' lives in Durham. They were fanning the flames of injustice in that instance. It makes one wonder how often Jackson himself is interested in the facts versus just deciding to throw his support behind the blacker of two disputants. Obviously, he gets it right sometimes. But perhaps not always.

    Now, all I want to say about Jackson's Obama remark is that what most people, including those in the MSM, fail to grasp is that Obama is just as black as he is white. If Obama wanted to choose which race he identifies with that would be his prerogative. Neither Jackson nor anyone else is in any position to demand that Obama declare himself 100 percent black (or white) and somehow "act" accordingly.

    And finally, in declaring that by not being enough of a spokesman for the Jena Six, Obama is "acting white," Jackson is himself making a sweeping implication that no white people care about what's going on there. This is an absurd and offensive suggestion. And, Jackson is setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby all white people might as well consider themselves opponents of the Jena Six simply because Jackson declares them to be so.

    September 19, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Kevin Burns Edison New Jersey

    What's wrong with acting White????

    September 19, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Geoff, Tampa, FL

    Jesse is as racist as anyone gets. How about Osama is acting human? Next he will acuse Hillary of acting like a man!

    September 19, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Lance in Monrovia CA

    So Barack Obama is acting white? To me, he's the only candidate that is concerned with issues such as voter supression that will wipe out segments of the black vote. I heard him speak on it yesterday.

    I just watched video on of a University of Florida College student being tasered by cops at a speech Kerry gave day before yesterday, after asking John Kerry why he didn't fight the corruption and voter disenfranchisement that went on during the 2004 Election that he has been documented to have won.

    The kid in the video is holding a yellow book that I know well as I've read it. It's what got the kid so fired up and if it doesn't make you angy nothing will.

    The kid in question made no threatening move, he was just asking a question. You can go to and just type in "taser" in the search to see the kid talk about this very important book before being tasered by cops that jump in.

    The book that got him so fired up is called "Armed Madhouse", by a well respected American writer for the BBC named Greg Palast. Palast goes to great lengths to document how the RNC was able to use vote caging, faulty voting machines, provisional ballots and absentee ballots being tossed out, false felon lists, and many more illegal methods to assure hundreds of thousands of votes were not counted in the last election. In fact, the three Republican heads of the Ohio State Board of Elections were convicted of election fraud for it although the mainstream media barely mentioned it.

    Ohio was won in 04 by George Bush by a bare 10,000 votes. Palast documents at least 75,000 Democratic votes in Ohio that were lost to RNC vote suppression.

    We cannot let this happen again. Barack Obama has spoken about the dangers of election fraud, as he's quite familiar with it being from such a rough and tumble district like Chicago where corruption is often rampant.

    I recommend every single Obama supporter go out to your Library or Borders Books or Barnes and Noble and get a copy of "Armed Madhouse" by Greg Palast. On the front page it says, "And how they plan to steal '08." It should be required reading so that we can be vigilant and inform voters how NOT to vote.

    They should never use provisional ballots, which are handed out when lines get long due to there being fewer voting machines in Dem districts than is actually needed. They shouldn't use absentee ballots either as, if a Republican is receiving them at the polls, they read the names and toss out anything that sounds ethnic as being a possible Dem.

    The best solution is to go to EARLY VOTING STATIONS and vote early. Most places have a poll set up two weeks in advance. If there's any problem voting, if your name isn't on a voter roll, you can then call the DNC and get it fixed before the election.

    Ohio in 04 or Florida in 2000 where not isolated cases. As I posted in a blog here a few days ago called "How the RNC Steals Elections", (the remaining is from that post...)

    "The only reason the Jim Webb campaign won the 2006 congressional election in Virginia by a few thousand votes and not 200,000 votes, is the same reason why other Dems lost so incredibly narrowly or won so narrowly when they should have swept... is because the RNC cheats, badly and baldly, with the selfish, greedy abandon only neocons can muster. Read "Armed Madhouse" by Greg Palast for the details, all documented by this brilliant reporter for the BBC. The 2004 elections being stolen was major news across the entire globe a week before the election thanks to his show on BBC, but we never even heard a peep about it in the states, why?"

    ie. The RNC controlled states hand out provisional ballots like candy only in democratic districts with poorer people that move around alot and thus may not have registered at the proper address, and then the Republican Sec. of State refuses to count them as is his right.

    Or, they use caging lists. The RNC pays to send first class letters to addresses of servicemen in Iraq from the state, and to democratic districts, and then any letters that come back unopened, they use as evidence of a wrong address and challenge the votes, which is illegal. This is detailed in some of Karl Rove's missing emails that Greg Palast, the author of Armed Madhouse, came across as they were sent to instead of, which is a spoof site, sent from Tim Griffen, who is now running the illustrious Fred Thompson's campaign.

    Griffen's name is right there in the heading and he's the guy that was Karl Rove's main henchman, who was later accused of election fraud by David Iglasias, the US attorney fired and then replaced by none other than... you guessed it, Tim Griffen.

    Oh, and then lets not forget crappy old voting machines that are allowed to break and remain in disrepair or are never delivered to Democratic districts to begin with. People have to wait in line for hours and many decide to take provisionals or just leave without voting while in Repub districts they breeze in and out in twenty minutes or less.

    Anybody that honestly believes we can have one congressional and two Presidential elections where the vote constantly came down to five hundred votes or a thousand or ten thousand here and there, is smoking crack.

    Of course the RNC tries to throw out so many votes that it's gonna be close. Their only mistake was in not throwing out a few more. I guess they underestimated the amount of democratic enthusiasm.

    This democratic enthusiasm is the only way we're going to stop these greedy, lousy cheaters in the next election cycle. Because we need overwhelming numbers even to achieve a "close" victory ala Webb. That's a major reason I'm supporting Barack Obama, as I know he'll inspire more democratic voter turn out than any other candidate and thanks to cheating we can't win without it even in a year where everyone is fed up with the Republican party.

    Oh, I almost forgot my favorite RNC tool, the one that hands down gave them Florida. Just pick a bunch of Democrat names from Democratic districts, and put them on a felon list, right out of the phone book, and send it to the polls. Sure, you may not be a felon, but your vote won't count and you can argue it later, AFTER you lose the election.

    Pay damn close attention from now on people. If you're asleep at the wheel, you lose a lot more than your shiny grill. Don't wind up like that student tasered in Florida for speaking his mind to Kerry.

    I suggest everybody get a copy of Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast either at your local Borders or the library, I've found it both places and you can also request a copy if your Library doesn't carry it.

    Your democracy hangs in the balance.

    Find out why this Florida student talking to taser was so angry and passionate that it got him tasered. Read THIS BOOK for all our goods.


    September 19, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Mike, Chicago, IL

    So is Jessy Jackson acting black?

    September 19, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Bobbie, Lynchburg, VA

    Jesse Jackson is a hypocrite and, as so, is a major contributor to racial discrimination. It doesn't matter what color I am - I'M OFFENDED. Why should any person be targeted in a negative way by saying they're acting white, or black, or whatever.

    Since Jesse Jackson proports himself as a minister of Christ, I do not understand why he continually perpetuates racism instead of showing himself as an example of one who promotes peace and loves his neighbor as himself.

    September 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    jessie jackson is the most racist person on the planet. Anyone who supports him is racist aswell.

    September 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. James Bender

    Well, as a fan of both Jesse's and Obama's, I was going to jump on what I would have considered a disgrace coming from Jesse Jackson...but then I read further and noted that he said he DIDN'T make the statements. So, who am I to believe, Jesse or some editor in a SC newspaper? I am sure Jesse said things along the lines that Obama needs to be bolder – in fact, the article itself say so. The problem is, CNN did not highlight that he threw this challenge to ALL THE CANDIDATES!! This racist medium race baits by highlighting Jesse's challenge as concerns Obama - not the first time any member of the MSM has ignored a bulk of statements that are made choosing instead to harp on racial elements. Putrid and sick. And of course, the expected pile on. Disgusting.

    September 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Susan, Atlanta Georgia

    I have determined, after the latest remark from Jesse Jackson, that he is a racist pig. I cannot believe he would accuse someone of "acting white". What kind of civil rights activist is he anyway? I am offended by the comment. I can guarantee you he would be offended if I accused him of acting black (whatever that means). I'd like to know just what is "acting white" anyway? He disgusts me with his continuous and ridiculous comments.

    September 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Barack Obama. Here is a man that as the Editor of the Harvard Law Review could have had any six figure corporate job he wanted out of college, but instead moved with Michelle into a cramped Southside Apartment and worked for 14 grand a year as a community organizer.

    Here is a man that passed more bi partisan bills in the Chicago legislature than anyone and passed the first serious ethics reform both their and in the Senate, in years and years.

    Here is a man that speaks out against the lobbyists that have hijacked American politics and against a "dumb war" even when when it was political suicide to do so in 2002, and yet he becomes the front runner in the race for President anyway.

    Here is a man that has inspired people all around this country to get involved, to take back the moral arch from the hands of fear mongers, greed merchants and hate makers, so that together we might all bend it "toward justice" as he said quoting Dr. King in a recent speech.

    Here is a man that has movitated people across this country who have never, ever been involved in politics before to speak out and get involved.

    I saw this first hand after driving to Nevada over the weekend from LA to canvass for him. I spoke to 200 hundred people and so many of them said they had hope for change for the first time in years thanks to this man.

    I attended a rally with 9000 people from every corner of California and watched their eyes as they spoke. They all knew that he was the only candidate that could change things.

    I attended a book signing where hundreds of people waited in line for Bill Clinton to sign his book. With a handful of volunteers we held Obama signs and spoke to the crowd. We found a lot of Obama supporters even there.

    The man is a phenomenon. He is able to use emotion for the positive in the same way Republicans have used to the negative for years. Instead of force feeding the basest, worst of human experience to get elected, he aspires toward the best of the human heart, he has worked not just now, not just since last year, but his entire life to bend that moral arch toward justice.

    He understands what we all should. That the time has grown too short to allow another average leader into the white house, to allow someone controlled by any other interest than that of the American people, to allow the same old partisan politics as usual.

    Here is a man that has more legislative experience than Hillary and Edwards combined and more real world experience than all the other politicians in Washington combined.

    Here is a man who lost his mother to cancer while she was between jobs and more worried about her lack of health coverage and the bills that meant than coming to terms with her life and loved ones.

    Here is a man that truly understands what it is to be American in the post cold war world.

    Here is the next President of The United States.

    A good man, for a change.

    September 19, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. aaron fielding

    jesse jackson is an idiot with next to no credibility. if he had any credibility and integrity he would determine the facts but instead jumps to the race card every time. what a moron.

    September 19, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Randall Holloway, Tuscaloosa Alabama

    A defining momment allright, maybe just like the Tawana Brawley incident in New York years ago !

    September 19, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Evelyn, Dallas, TX

    I'd like Jessie Jackson to refresh my mind on what white people have done in the last, say 60 years, to black people???? Our prisons are full of young black men, 30 to 50 year old white people were not responsible for that!!! Give me a break. By my way of thinking, it is great that he acts 'white'.

    September 19, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. evan mathews

    Interesting. I view this as comment by Jackson as "black racism". If a white were to support the Jena six and be accused of "acting like a black", it would be called racism. Jackson is a hypocrite and a black racist.

    September 19, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. M Foster, Newport, KY

    Jesse Jackson, Civil Rights Activist.
    He looks like he's got a well paying job and health and medical. Where can I go to school to get that kind of degree to get me that kind of job?

    I'm just a lowly cancer research scientist that makes $12/hr.

    September 19, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Blue in a Red State - Phoenix, Arizona

    It never ends:

    Obama is "acting like he's white"???

    Jesse, instead of going after a fellow democrat...a person YOU endorsed... How about going after the Republicans for "acting like they care"?

    There are SO many more issues to discuss – why spend our energy on something like this. If you want to talk about Jena- talk about it. But don't waste time by focusing on the "acting white" issue.

    September 19, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Jen in Morton, IL

    Is anyone ever black enough for Jesse? Does anyone ever do enough to help blacks? He's the chicken little of the african american community.

    September 19, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Jeromy Dunn, Charlotte, NC

    Talk about your RACIST a person who happens to bewhite, I find Jackson's commets to be racist and bigotted.

    Rev. Jackson ouught to think before he speaks. Obama is a well spoken individual and presents himself as such. What statement is Rev. Jackson making about African Americans when he says this? To me this comment is a back handed insult both to the African American community and caucasions in general.

    He blasts caucasions when general statements are made, yet he makes such a blatent insulting remark towards Obama?? Is it not racist when he makes such a comment?

    Just my two cents.

    Jeromy Dunn

    September 19, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Henry, Montgomery Village, MD

    I am disappointed whenever I happen to read the comments attached to these articles. Jesse probable never really made these comments. Normally when quotes are taken there is a source given with the quote as corroborating evidence. The original article gave no such information.

    Barack Obama, one of the few black people to ever run for president, seems to neglect a lot of issues. This would have been an opportunity for Barack to step out and show that he actually is about something besides talk. He says and does all the right things, but that doesn't distinguish him from the rest of the candidates. If he isn't going to be bold, is he really an agent for change? I might as well pick the next person if all he would do is what the next guy would.

    I am surprised by many of the comments. The incident in Jena 6 is a violation of all the principles for which this country stands. When nooses are hung in a tree, it has a racial overtone, and could be considered a hate crime. At any rate the main issue in this case is that the students in Jena were overcharged and tried as adults. Why would you try someone as an adult whose alleged assault on someone else didn't even require a full day in the hospital? It used to be that people were tried as adults when there was a gross severity to a crime, which normally involved someone dying. I guess this is no longer the case, and we all live in a society where anything goes.

    September 19, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Timothy, Park Forest, IL

    Lets get something straight because many of you are clueless. Jackson if that is what he said wasn't saying Obama is acting white because he speaks properly or anything like that. Jackson is pointing out the fact that Obama, if you analyze his stances/actions or in-actions as a congressman, or as a candidate running for president, doesn't differentiate himself from white candidates, even though he is a minority. Jesse expects and so do most African Americans, that an African American candidate would be more vocal on the Jena issue, instead of being quiet on the issue for worry that he may turn off potential white voters come election time.

    September 19, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34