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. Marlene

    Jesse Jackson SHUT UP, eres un RACISTA, hombre ignorante, te gusta dividir a la gente, YOU ARE A RACIST AND AND IGNORANT AND A LOOSER.

    September 19, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. Mary Melcher Mesa, AZ

    Gee, I wonder why old Jesse, defender against hate crime, isn't down there assisting the white teenager who was viciously beaten by several black teens–sounds like a hate crime to me. Maybe Jesse and the Rev Al will go down to counter protest the folks who think that prosecution of these hoodlums is "too harsh"!
    As for his comments on Obama–well the only black Jesse could ever envision in the White House is Jesse.
    Incidentally I was an activist for the end to segregation–

    September 19, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Bob, Lakewood, Colorado

    Jesse Jackson striking a blow for racism. My hero.

    September 19, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. DMSabb- Yardley- PA

    I never had any respect or regard for you prior to this statement- I have even less now. How can O'Bama be acting like he's white? That is so 50's of you.
    Please take your 'act' elsewhere.

    September 19, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Ina, Los Angeles, CA

    Jesse, please let us respect you! How dare you say Obama is acting white, he is a lawyer and gave his opinion based on education and experience not on blackness...and yes I am black. This is the reason why you and your group never made any headway, please retire and be quiet!!

    September 19, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. White Guy, Rochester, NY

    Does acting white mean getting an education and being a responsible human being?

    Does acting black mean killing each other, drug addiction, gold teeth, poverty, wearing your pants below your ass and having no respect for yourself or anybody else?

    Huh, I must have my priorities misaligned.

    September 19, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. SUN

    Jesse Jackson needs to stop his crap. He used to be a great African American rights advocate. He has turned into a "white" hater and the worst voice possible for the African American community.

    September 19, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Sue, Phoenix, AZ

    Obama is "acting white"?...meaning what – FAIR? If the fact that Obama does not condone the beating of ONE person, by a Group of bullies makes him White (I mean "Fair") – then that shows he HAD integrity...until he caved in to Jesse Jackson, and used his influence to have some of the charges dropped / reduced. he's just a "Politician". Way to go you're a true-to-form wishy-washy FENCESITTER! That's your second mistake...your first one was listening to Jesse Jackson. C'mon Obama everyone knows that the #1 problem is that Jesse is furious that he's BLACK....and he is going to make everyone in the world "PAY" until that changes (Note to self, Jesse: Don't hold your breath! Suggestion: Have you asked Michael Jackson how he did it?...because he turned himself into a white person....a crazy white person....but, nontheless...). Let's not confuse Jesse Jackson's tirades as being FOR blacks...they are BECAUSE HE IS BLACK...and it seems to make him very angry. Surely, this has become overly evident to more people than are willing to admit it (You, too, Jesse. "Methinks thou dost protest too much"). Now, Jesse...stop CONDONING criminal acts by Blacks and Hispanics. You can't lock up all of the white people...just for being white (yes, we understand what you one is fooled). And sterotypes are founded in truth...more Blacks / Hispanics are in jail...because they commit more crimes. Surely if half a dozen white children beat one black child, you would want them prosecuted. Quit dividing America by color – and allow for JUSTICE to occur as it should. These kids committed an extremely brutal crime – "possible-future Presidential votes" should not enter into the US Justice Sytem. Obama – for allowing yourself to be "lead by the nose" by a "self-proclaimed messiah to the African American populace" – you need to withdraw from the Presidential Race. Until had some dignity and integrity.

    September 19, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. SPH, Arizona

    If what Mr. Jackson said is true, it ranks up there with "Hymietown", Tawana Brawley, out-of-wedlock children and the Duke lacrosse case.

    Oh, have we forgotten about that? Those players were tried and found guilty by the ilks of the Jacksons and Sharptons in this country.

    Who takes him seriously anymore?

    September 19, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. Debbie Meese, Utah

    Jessie honey! Your positions are what's creating the divide. Join the present decade! You will never be pleased unless you stir up controversy so you have something to talk about. We're Americans! We have different color skin, different backgrounds, different heritage, different beliefs. If you say Barack Obama is not black enough then I say you are not AMERICAN ENOUGH!

    September 19, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. C, Cinci, OH

    What? How can you "act white"? And even if he is, WHO CARES? Let the man BE HIMSELF, which may or may not include "acting white". Jesse Jackson needs to just SHUT UP; he's more racially charged and racist than the KKK has been in recent years.

    September 19, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. Bob Smith Minot AFB ND


    September 19, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Only in America...

    Only in America can a black man get criticized for acting like a civilized human being, claiming he's acting "too white".

    Only in America, a bunch of white boys would beat up a black boy, and it's a hate crime and they'd be charged to the fullest extent of the law, but a bunch of black boys beat up a white boy and they get their cases thrown out because of pressure from the NAACP.

    Must be nice to have dark skin and get away with (practically) murder.

    September 19, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  14. Matt, WA

    Where was Jessie Jackson when the Duke Lacrosse stuff was going on?
    Oh yeah, he was condemning the white players prematurely.
    He needs to shut up for once.

    September 19, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. Tony....Louisville, Ky.

    So, Mr. Jackson thinks the presidential candidates should bring more attention to the Jena incident?
    So 3 stupid white kids hang a noose on a branch. A pack of black kids beat up a white kid, and he thinks that's more important than the issues of war, immigration,healthcare, education and such? Being the racist he is, he doesnt understand this isnt a race problem anymore, its a parental problem! White parents need to teach their children that slavery isnt accepted, nor is it made fun of. Black parents need to teach their children that slavery is gone, and there is nobody alive today that had anything to do with it! Nobody alive today owns slaves, or supports slavery. We cant change the past, but we cant dwell on it anymore either, nor use it as an excuse to break the law, or get what you want.

    September 19, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. Sean, North Carolina

    Black people wake up!!

    The Clinton News Network (CNN) is obviously attempting to play Divide and Conquer. Know your history, this is how they will make sure that the people will never unite. Because WE ARE TOO BUSY FIGHTING EACHOTHER!!!

    Like Jackson said, CNN is trying to use this whole thing as a way to try to dillute Jackson's support of Obama.

    Wake up!!!

    OBAMA '08

    September 19, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Shannon, DeKalb County, Illinois

    Coach Haughton –
    Are you an idiot too? Jesse Jackson is a poor excuse for a "freedom fighter" – wake up!!! He only wants rights for the black brothers and sisters. Screw the Whitey....Whatever. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for love and peace – nothing close to what this idiot wants. Jackson is the black Hitler. Perhaps all of us non-blacks should go throw ourselves into a burn pile somewhere and get it over with. I have friends of all different races, creeds and colors. My children do not know color. They only know love – Just as Dr. King would have wanted. Why don't you start tomorrow by spreading some love to everyone, instead of just the poor black will make your heart bigger. If you were wondering who I am....I have a vast heritage in my family...Cherokee, Cree, Blackfoot, Black, White, Hispanic....I consider myself and AMERICAN. Perhaps instead of being Black and White – we could all try the term AMERICAN – this, perhaps, would solve A LOT of problems.

    September 19, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. John, Atlanta, GA

    Rev. Jackson = Don Imus

    September 19, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. JP Fontana, Ca

    well then, I am going to act black and go around with my pants hanging off my backside and do some drive by shootings.

    September 19, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. whatthecrap?

    ...and Jesse Jackson is acting like a race-baiter.

    September 19, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. Monique, Winston-Salem

    Jena, La is a local problem that the courts need to decide. Obama can't just for every racaist thing in the U.S. as it happen. He would never be able to see every case. There are so many bad things going on at every hour of the day that need so much fixing. The best thing for Obama is to do his part and be a presidential candidate. Please, stop treating this man like he is the messiah or something like that.

    September 19, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Jesse Jackson is more racist than anyone he has ever slung a finger at.

    September 19, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. KD, Dallas, TX

    Well, it's true. Have you ever listened to the way Obama speaks to different crowds? Particularly, black crowds. He speaks with that slangy accent… like he's one of them…. and then when he's in front of a group of white voters he sounds perfectly precise and no accent. Thats akin to John Kerry going to Texas and using a Texas accent! Don't you think the Texans would be offended? Pandering is pandering, plain and simple. Obama is just another slimy politician.

    Posted By Anonymous : September 19, 2007 12:40 pm

    Isn't it amazing that someone so adamantly opposed to Obama would listen to his every word. LOL Some of you are so easy to read through. Obama talks like he is a very educated man; which in fact he is.

    September 19, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. RA Las Vegas, NV

    This article and their 788 comments now can be understood to mean that confirmation has been set in stone of the two leaders listed and all the rest along side is leading their marches and protest (Rev. Al Sharpton & Rev. Jesse Jackson); the protectors of the black race remains tagged by a large majority of Americans as racist black people.

    Even though the black & white racist of the 1960’s are long gone. Look out now; every time a person of color is involved within the handful of this racist nation and our laws, the black elite leaders of the gangs are running to the rescue. O J Simpson has been arrested and with ten felony charges; as if America has not heard, you both must now go too rescue O J Simpson!

    September 19, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Brian west somerset kentucky

    Get him off the air he is bringing race in this and thats wrong wrong!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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