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. Heartland of Dixie, Untied States

    Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are the biggest racists I have ever seen or heard in my life. They are a true embarrassment to the black race and to the USA.

    The “Jena 6” had no right to beat that student almost to death – regardless of their race. Yes this is a hate crime too, however it will not be charged as that. It is called a double standard.

    What because the black kids got caught committing a violent crime they should be let go because they are black – that is what Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are saying to the whole world. Their actions are inexcusable, disgusting and outrageous. The bad part of all of this is the kid was severely beaten almost to death, he and his family will be victimized again because of Al Sharpton – I hope his parents will sue for a hate crime against him and Jesse. This has got to stop. Talk about double racist standard in this country.

    Apparently, Al and Jesse have no moral regard for the law, that it is OK that black people can commit violent hate crimes against someone that is NOT their color and not be punished for it? This is absurd.

    If Al and Jesse think the USA is so bad, there are plenty of other countries they can choose from to go live in! One day both Al and Jesse will rightly get what they so just deserve, maybe not tomorrow or next week but one day.

    September 20, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Jonathan, Va Beach, VA

    The only clever political strategy I see is how Jackson is taking a bullet to get Obama the nomination. Black Democrats are going to rally around him anyways, and so many of them are offended by the good Rev’rins statement that they are fully in his camp. For White Democrats who held a deeply shameful, subconscious worry about supporting a man who is only half-white, this bold attack is going to completely separate Obama from the radical black demographic enough that they can overlook their previous anxieties and go ahead and vote for Obama.

    Obama is the only one who stands to benefit from Mr. Jackson’s nonsensical statements.

    September 20, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Let me start by saying I have a lot of respect for Jesse (before I slam him). If you look at what he's accomplished instead of listening to his increasingly-senile raps, he's a great American. Remember when he coaxed Khadafy into giving up a downed flier? But lately he's losing control of his arguments and going off on tangents and just generally having 'elder moments.' Maybe he should stick to prepared texts and short sound bytes from now on? Don't waste any hate on him though because he's one of the good guys in this country (save it for Sharpton). Oh, and my sound byte today? Obama's not acting white, he's just green.

    September 20, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    . . and now I guess I have to put in two cents on Jena? Where I'm from the cops would have been all over this from day one. Both sides would have had a fair hearing and a judge would be preparing to drop all their butts. Jena happened because there was no confidence in local law enforcement; now America has heard what happened and we're sendin' in the Marines. The rule of law will once again prevail in Jena.

    September 20, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. JD, Ripon, WI

    ... and here's yet another example of blacks segregating themselves...

    September 20, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Cheryl

    I am sick of all the Hate mongers in this world. First of all Obama is not Muslim and His statement is more than fair. I am an African American and feel his statement was appropriate. I see there are a lot of racist that still exist in the US. Some campaigns supporters other than Obama is trying to use this. People should understand one thing. African Americans are smarter than this. We know what you are trying to do and it will not work. You need to look within yourselfs because I see a lot of bigots.

    September 20, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Stef

    Rev. Jackson, why don't you just keep your mouth shut? Every time you open it, you make everyone you claim to represent look bad. What, exactly, is Obama supposed to do about the Jena 6? Stand up and spout off nonsense like you? That's what separates him from you. He knows when to keep his mouth shut. You only want to get in the limelight. Your fifteen minutes of fame was up decades ago.

    As for the Jena 6– had these been 6 white teens, we'd never hear about it. But, because they're black, it's an issue. Some white kids put nooses in a tree, and some blacks kids took offense. Since when did 2 wrongs make a right?

    September 20, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. bigbang4god

    The real problem here is the lack of presidential candidates that are dealing with the BIG ISSUE of this presidential campaign: THE IRAQ WAR! Most Americans are properly concerned with the fact that our young kids are dying in vain in IRAQ. The only candidate to offer a viable solution is: BigBang4God - look him up on the web.

    September 20, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Greg, Lititz, PA

    Isn't this the same bunch that wouldn't accept him as a true African American – that he somehow doesn't represent these people because he is not decended from the harship of slavery? Now they say he's acting white? Obama is Obama! He's just a guy running for President just like the other 550 candidates. He wants to better America. Black, white, mulato, he's just a person. He needs to be seen that way. This was a statement I am sure that Jesse regrets (I hope so)

    September 20, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Bob, Long Beach, CA

    It is a really sad thing when the most outspoken members of a movement aren't capable of practicing what they preach.

    September 20, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. David B., Sterling Virginia

    Once upon a time I was a big Jesse Jackson supporter. I wanted him to be president. I can't believe how stupid I was. The man is a racist, through and through. What an intellectual collapse he has displayed since his days following MLK. "Acting white" - what on earth does that mean?!?

    September 20, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Grovin, Darnassus, IL

    "Can Obama rally New Yorkers?" has 0 comments.

    "Jesse Jackson: Obama's 'acting like he's white'" has 815 comments.

    Sad statement, people.

    September 20, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Mo, Chicago IL

    Obama is ACTING like ANYTHING. He's just being himself. And thank heavens for that! Everyone else is so phoney. Love him!

    September 20, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. LP

    "I mean, when girls are beating up other girls because the other girls were virgins, when boys are attacking other boys because the boys are studying and they say, 'You're acting white.' Well, I got news for ya, a guy told me that there were some white kids who attacked other white kids because they were studying and they said, 'You're acting Asian.' So it's a disease all around." – Bill Cosby

    September 20, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Posted By Tom, Macon Ga : September 19, 2007 2:04 pm

    Who is Barack Obama?
    Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta . Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.
    > >
    Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking Major public office in the United States , Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
    > >
    Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.
    > >
    Please forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level.

    This is true. WOW…SCARY THOUGHT!!!.. Certainly something to think about!

    RESPONSE by Poster:

    "are you saying you have a problem with muslims? my goodness who cares about what you posted it has nothing to do with the topic."

    My Reply:
    No I don't think he is saying he has a problem with Muslims. He is saying Obama was enrolled in a Muslim school that taught the radical Muslim used by Terrorists today.

    I think that is worth investigation. I'd rather be safer than sorry. Would you rather find out his years of law and religous teachings were to overthrow the American Government after he's in office!

    You shouldn't believe anything until you have absolute proof it is truth but you also shouldn't discount anything before you have obsolute proof it is not the truth.

    "They will come in sheep's clothing,"

    September 20, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. the speaker of truth

    I had to laugh when I read this post which appears somewhere below:

    " To be honest,Obama is not African American by any definition.His dad is an African from Kenya and mom from Kansas.It is unlikely that he experienced what most African Americans young men had to go through in their life.It is understandable if he acts insulated.He is still very qualified to lead this nation in whatever standard that is set .

    Posted By Ricky,Jonesboro,Ga : September 19, 2007 12:49 pm"

    gotta just luv the ignorance of some folks (btw, these abbreviations and shortlines you see in my post are what we call internet english). I wasn't aware Kansas was a country, I thought it was a state in a place commonly known as "America". So, if my mother is from America and my father is from Africa (btw he was from Kenya, a country on a continent called Africa), wouldn't that make me African-American by any definition?

    What this idoit meant, which is what most of these racial ideologues mean on this point, is that being African-American is really a state of mind, a state of being, in this country. he's actually right; it's not your ethnic breakdown at all. Being African-American is a caste in America in reality, that's the ugly truth no one wants to admit to. It's the mindset from which 90% of these posts comes from. They believe being AA is inferior, so it is approached from a view of inferiority, thus the attacks on those who challenge it, whether it be Jackson, Sharpton, Obama or you. This is the cancer which must be eradicated in America in order to move past racial hatred and mistrust.

    September 20, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Dave, Wilmington, DE

    Jackson and Sharpton are shameless. They do not care about bettering the black community, because if the black community improved itself to app. equal levels of education, income, etc.. with whites the need for people like Jackson and Sharpton erases. You can't preach (and capitalize on) victimization without a large flock of victims...
    It's a real shame there is anyone that believes these racist men's opinions, but even worse when you throw a race card in with it, where blacks who speak against Jackson and Sharpton are ostracized socially; they aren't black enough, or they've sold out to the white man. News flash – there's plenty of uneducated whites in this country that are below national standards in just about every category, does that mean they're not white enough, if Obama is too white?

    September 20, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Eduardo, Los Angeles, CA

    Let's see if I recall correctly, Obama has 23 "black" and 23 "White" Genes...therefore, he would and should, hopefully, represent both "Races" well!

    September 20, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Louis, Trenton NJ

    Now people use your brains here.. Look who is reporting this story. Look who will benefit from this story. This is intelligent way of dividing and conquering. Get people to discredit one black man against another. Wake up people. See the whole picture. Jesse supports and respects Obama big time. Lets unite on that premise and let the haters do their own thing.

    September 20, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Eduardo, Miami, Fl

    I just don't get it...according to "Reverend" Jackson, black neighborhoods are the most infested with violence, drugs, guns, crimes, gangs, etc. Yet a black person succeeds in getting out of the "hood" and is therefore criticized for not being "black enough" or "light colored" when it turn should serve as an example that indeed a black person can succeed in the alleged "white man" world!

    "Reverend" Jackson promote unity or turn in your title!

    September 20, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Our young black and white youths need to be taught what you do today will follow you in the future. Any future political or judicial career choices, etc., they may choose Jeno will follow them. They need to be taught to think with their heads and not with a noose or fist. The damage has been done, there is nothing to repair.

    September 20, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. RuthieM

    I am so glad Senator Obama responded to the alleged Jesse Jackson comment with, "It's not about black or white, it's about right or wrong." GO OBAMA!!! OBAMA'08!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Me, Monroe La.

    Man, if this is true, it almost makes me lose all respect for Rev. Jackson. That's as racist a comment as the one Imus made. Being a young black male who knows how to write and speak proper English, and who's grown up in the South, i've had people do subtle things like ask me where i'm from, then react with surprise when I tell them this is my hometown. (Monroe, La.) I've even had MANAGERS I work with come out and accuse me of "acting white". I don't have to justify my blackness to them or anyone else, and neither should Obama. To say that someone is acting 'white' is just slave mentality; it implies that because a person carries themselves with some dignity and class, it means they can't be black. (Which means one of our supposed prominent black leaders is implying black people don't have class and dignity.) Since when did European-Americans get a monopoly on dignity?

    September 21, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |


    September 21, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Brian-Det., MI

    HEY Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Jenna would not have happened if some WHite kids did not hang a noose to intimidate Black kids and jump on e of them at a party and beat him with beer bottles BEFORE the WHite kid got beaten up in retaliation.

    And Jesse Jackson should shut the hell up and take his money hungry, spotlight hungry, jealous ass and fade into the wind.

    September 23, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
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