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. Jeff Lorton,VA

    "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..."

    HE NEVER SAID THIS!!!! THE MEDIA AND THE "POWERS" WANT TO DIVIDE AFRICAN AMERICANS! Look at the trend.."50 cents endorses Obama....." Jesse Jackson calls him a sell out. Even though Jesse Jackson didnt say a thing about him acting white.. Cnn puts it on there website like its fact...comeing from some hick town newpaper in SC.

    September 19, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Dan, Toledo, Ohio

    Why is this story even online? this is so stupid.

    September 19, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Zack, Boston, MA

    I guess Jesse Jackson believes that skin color should dictate personality. That sounds remarkably racist to me.

    Definition of irony: A renowned civil rights leader making racist remarks, thereby perpetuating the very thing he has always fought against.

    September 19, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Jackie - DC

    Give me a break Jesse – when are you going to apologize for the Duke Lacrosse case? All you have is a big mouth and it gets wider and wider so you can put your foot in it. Obama doesn't have to impress you! He is an individual that has his own mind and agenda and he doesn't need for you to interfere. As for the 6 that jumped the white kid, they deserve to be punished in some sort of fashion. Hopefully this will be treated like a hate crime because if the shoe was on the other foot it would be. No wonder why there is racism still in America!

    September 19, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Matt, Boston, MA

    It is a disgrace what the white students did and they should be punished. The response by the black students resulting in violence was foolish, childish, and could have killed someone. As children, we learn the whole stick and stones thing. The students should have taken the moral highground. The resulting violence instead, should end with jail. If i assaulted everyone that ever called me a name, I would be in jail. Violence is not acceptable because someone or someone's race was insulted. Jesse Jacksons comment about Obama acting white is appalling. It only hurts the need racial relations issue.

    September 19, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. DF in FL

    In the court of public opinion, Mr. Jackson's are far more likely to result in an indictment of his own racial attitudes.

    September 19, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. M West

    When can we move past caring about what Jesse Jackson thinks? I don't and never have. Take a look at his past.

    September 19, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. tim crowley,sarasota,fl.

    ...thats why jackson has been unsuccessful in his career...mediating and respecting divergent views and cultures is an art...you go Obama...

    September 19, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Jake wells,JUNCTION CITY,KANSAS

    If this comment was from a caucasion man then NAACP and other organizations would be all over this.I guess if your not white then you can get away with.Heaven forbid it was said by someone white though....

    September 19, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Arlene, Atlanta, GA

    I've always thought so, but now I am convinced that Jessie Jackson is a full-fledged idiot.

    For years, African Americans have been fighting for equality (with caucasions one can only presume?)...but, according to Mr. Jackson's logic, they an BE equal, but cannot 'act' white! What is exactly is 'acting' white? Speaking english and being gramatically correct...is that 'white'? Getting a good education and not being afraid or ashamed to use it...is that 'white'? For giving equal consideration to issues whether black or white...is that acting white?

    Get a grip, Mr. Jackson. Take the time, instead, to learn to use the english language properly so at least when you speak YOU don't sound quite so ignorant.

    September 19, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    It's because of crap like this, we will probably not have a black president, at least until whites are no longer a majority in the country. Blacks will not let a black candidate govern for all, they want them to only to represent the black "community" and what is good for it, not what is good for the country. And as long as that is the perceived line of thinking, whites will not vote for a black candidate in large enough numbers for he or she to win. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton need to just crawl into a crack in a wall like the cockroaches they are and let the candidates run on their records. The comments from those two baffoons have nothing to do with facts at hand regarding any situation, not just in Louisiana. Those two are jealous because a black man has a chance to win where neither of them could ever come even close to garnering a nomination in the democratic party, let alone a solid run for the presidency, and I'm sure the fact that he has "white" blood running through those veins, just really irks them! And that, in turn, irks me. I may just vote for him because they don't like him...and I don't even like him!

    September 19, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Michael Torrance, CA.

    It’s hard for me to take anything that Jesse Jackson says seriously. Jackson criticizes Obama for acting white when he himself has affairs with women that work for him. That seems kind of white of Jackson, ala Bill Clinton.

    September 19, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. New Bern, NC

    Well obama is half white folks- YEP that is to hard for some to stomach. But is a fact!

    September 19, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Kim, Green Bay, WI

    How exactly is one who is of mixed racial backgrounds supposed to act? His mother is white and his father is black...plus, isn't it un-PC to stereotype certain races and the way they "act"? C'mon, let's enter the 21st century already!

    September 19, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Stephen, Whiteriver AZ

    I wonder what would have happened if a prominent white reverend would have told Giuliani or McCain that "he is acting black."

    September 19, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. gary, boca raton fl

    Where is the outrage from the white community??? why is the Rev. allowed to make these comments, and if someone said Guiliani was acting Black, the whole world would be going nuts???? Jesse Jackson is a dope

    September 19, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Megan, Immokalee Florida

    What the heck does "acting white" mean?! It would seem if someone of Jesse Jackson's stature (who was white) said white candidate was "acting black" that people like Jesse Jackson would be outraged.

    September 19, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Jeff, Bloomington, IL

    Ya know, if you think about it, if a WHITE person said "he's acting black!", Jesse Jackson would be all over him saying that it's yet another "defining moment". Why doesn't anyone say something about racism when it's black against white? Speaking of that hypocrite, why is it that the only time you hear anything from Jesse Jackson or Rev. Sharpton, it's about how "the black man / woman is being oppressed". What about when it happens to any other community? They're silent. These two clowns needs to wake up and if they're going to stand for human rights and an end to racism, it's not just a "WHITE ON BLACK" problem.

    September 19, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. lavelle Rochester,ny

    You know what I ask Jesse Jackson what have you done for the black race since MLK passed away. He for one does not represent me and how I view Mr.Obama in no way. Everyone has something to say about how someone should run for president. So you endorse the man and then slander him publicly come on Jesse what is your reason behind this? Yeah if you were running for president you would be all over this. That’s why you would never be president Obama is not about using others for his own political gain. He registered a statement spoke his mind and is leaving it up to the justice system. What else do you want him to do? That "we shall overcome" tactic is tiring and old. I mean when will you learn that fighting racism can be done a different way? Maybe Obama is leaving that up to you because well he pretty much already knows you will take care of that. DO YOUR PART MR.JACKSON AND OBAMA WILL DO HIS! Just because your black does not mean you have to ride for everything you want! YOUR NOT THE KING OF ALL BLACKS MY GOD! We are already a divided people and to have you say this just makes the goal harder to reach. How jealous do you look now! I have yet to see you ask "The first black president" to stand there with you? I bet he would have a greater affect on a white mans decision then Obama would at this point. What a hypercrit as a black man myself I am very disappointed in him. I represent the next generation and do not in one shape or form look at Jesse Jackson as a strong black leader. You were dead wrong with the Duke Lacross case and refused to apologize for wrongfully accusing those men. And now you have the nerve to judge what Obama should do? What a loser, always was and always will be.

    September 19, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Santa Claus, Fontana, Ca

    I am glad Jessie Jackson has found another piece of crap to defend. These teens that beat the unconscious boy nearly to death, will not be getting any presents this year or any other year. They deserve to go to jail as would a white person who did the same thing. Lets stop defending criminals and find someone worthy to get behind.

    September 19, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Laurie, NY NY

    Guess what everyone: Jesse Jackson is a racist.

    September 19, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Dennis Trenton NY

    Jessie, I use to have high hopes for you but on the outside your blk but behind the scence you are the Sell Out atleast Obama is trying to make a change you just talked about it. I get so tire of hearing my brothers march to these lil' things that will not make a difference. YOu and all our People need to start boycotting establishments and getting our people in the House to really change all these Jim Crow Laws...not to mention the racist police forces that patrol our inner cities with all White police details most contain only 1 blk to ensure a hard legal fight agains discrimination law suits. .

    September 19, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Ted, Chicago, IL

    As a Chicagoan, no on should be surprised by the demagogic racist rants of the "reverend" Jesse Jackson.

    September 19, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Kathryn, Tulsa Oklahoma

    Comments like that coming from an African American leader are racist.

    September 19, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Andrew Rhodes, Wilmington NC

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

    "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."

    ""If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena," the prominent civil rights activist said Tuesday in Columbia, South Carolina, the The State newspaper reports. "Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment.""

    Actually, it's closer to the Rodney King/Reginald Denny. While the outrage in that case was the video recorded beating of Rodney King which incited some individuals to riot and seek revenge by attacking and beating Reginald Denny, the Jena case was having to do with nooses which set off some individuals to attack and beat another student. In both cases, justification was repeatedly given that the revenge attacks were justifiable and should not be prosecuted.

    But what do you expect from the likes of the Racist Jesse Jackson or even the Racist Al Sharpton?

    "Jackson is slated to be on hand for a march in Jena this Thursday. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and hip-hop artist Mos Def are also expected to be on hand. "

    I would truly like to believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. is twisting angrily in his grave over his son being involved with these Racists and how he is apparently involved with this case.

    "Obama formally released a statement on the case Friday evening after one of the teen's charges was thrown out, saying, “I am pleased that the Louisiana state appeals court recognized that the aggravated battery charge brought in this case was inappropriate."

    "I hope that today’s decision will lead the prosecutor to reconsider the excessive charges brought against all the teenagers in this case," he added. "And I hope that the judicial process will move deliberately to ensure that all of the defendants will receive a fair trial and equal justice under the law.""

    At least he SOUNDS like he wants justice for EVERYONE. Not simply saying "it wasn't a crime because the victim was white and the attackers were black". Certainly more reasonable than the Racist Jesse Jackson or the Racist Al Sharpton.

    September 19, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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