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. John, Wash, D.C.

    First, Jesse Jackson is perhaps the worst thing to happen to the civil rights movement. If the issue is equality, why does he keep emphasizing the differences in people? He continually makes everything a white vs. black issue, instead of white and black people working together to accomplishh something positive. Jackson is more concerned about his own fat face being plastered all over the press, then working to make a REAL change, and not just the lip-service sound-bite garbage that continually eminates from his mouth.

    Second, what does it mean to "act white?" What does it mean to "act black?" These are two of the dumbest phrases I have ever heard. Jackson was intending his "acting white" comment to be an insult or attack on Obama's character obviously, but if the shoe were on the other foot and a white commentator said Obama "acts black," I am sure there would be a strong backlash and everyone (especially Jackson) would accuse that individual of being racist. Let's loose the double standard; better yet, let's loose those rediculous cliches.

    Third, Obama is half black and half white (not that ANY of that should matter), so that makes his comment even more asinine. As long as people such as Jackson keep running their mouth, race will always be an issue.

    Congradulations to Jesse Jackson for setting the civil rights movement back each time he opens his mouth.

    Someone should put a diaper on his head to catch all the crap that comes out of his mouth.

    September 19, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Ray G, Rye NY

    Jesse as an African American, I want you to know that you do not represent me. Jesse you’re an idiot, your time has come and gone. You've cheated on your wife and are a TOTAL embarrassment to the African American community. My advice to you; shut up and go away.

    September 19, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Fritz Gibbons

    Here again, America can't rise above herself (or Jesse Jackson's biggoted mentality) to consider a man (not a BLACK MAN, but a man) for office. Now, I guess, since he's not a Chris Rock "stereotypical" black man, he's not going to get the "black vote". C'mon, people, I may not be voting for him, but I'll be damned if I'll sit back and let Jackson and his cracker-jack band of the racially confused spark yet ANOTHER black/white issue. Rainbow Coalition? Makes on wonder if the truly colorblind person isn't Jackson, who, as a colorblind person, sees ONLY in black and white. Go Obama! I'm not a supporter, but I'm strongly against Jackson and his politics of Ignorance.

    September 19, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. beth seminole fl

    there we go again, we all want to stop
    racial bull&*&*&*& but here goes the guru making a racial remark about our

    September 19, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. J., Tampa Bay

    Jesse is an irrelevant dinosaur yearning for lost spotlight and will try to get it back at any cost. Barak doesnt have an obligation to do or say anything regarding the Jena 6. What national implications does it have?

    September 19, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Frank Parker, Dallas Texas

    This reminds me of being accussed of "acting black" when I listen to music other than country western while growing up in south texas during the 60's. Who knew Jessie had so much in common with those old red necks and would agree that we should all "act our color".
    Jessie, folks should "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" and your content is sour.

    September 19, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Seann, Minneapolis, MN

    Jackson throws garbage like that out and wonders why he didn't get elected. Seriously – when you're fighting for racial equality, giving the ignorant racists ammunition like this is ridiculous. The truth of the matter is Jackson has always been self promotor, using his ties to MLK as a front for his own political ambitions. The public needs to respond to this sensationalist BS by not paying any attention. If Obama gets into office, he should do so by being himself and expressing his opinions on what is best for this country as a human being. Enough of perpetuating this racist garbage.

    September 19, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Danielle, Chicago, IL

    Who cares what Jesse is saying at this point? He didn't jump ont he Jena bandwagon until just the other day. So I am not impressed at all by Mr. Jackson's statement. As an African American, I'd like to see ALL African Americans with power on this story. In almost 2008, or rather almost 2007 when this happened, this should not be still happening in the US. So to Mr. Jackson, you as a "leader" should have made the world more aware of this a long time ago.

    September 19, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Rodrigo Solis

    If Obama is "acting white" then maybe Clinton is "acting black," I wonder if Mr. Jackson will start attacking her for that at some point...

    September 19, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Ron, TX

    Jesse Jackson disagrees with something Obama says... I think I'll mark that one off as a win for Obama.

    September 19, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. walters,A

    I have deep respect for Rev Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for all their endeavors for racial equality but he should not forget that Obama is not running for president just of black America and will be labelled racist and really alieniate most mainstream white who support his candidacy. Obama is smarter and doing the right thing, what Hillary and Edward can get away with, he wouldn't when it comes to black issues. South Carolina should remember though Hillary will be better than most Rep she could not vote to support their effort against HIV in 2006.
    Obama 2008, we don't need anymore extreme candidates but those which could heal the wounds and get the job done.

    September 19, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Bob in Despair

    Jesse, You're down-right embarrassing. As an educated Black man, I see no reason for your comments. You, sir, are well behind the times and embarrass a race that you set out to better. What's wrong, have you been swimming in any Florida lakes lately? Got flu symptoms?

    September 19, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Bobby, OKC, OK

    And people think that racism is a "white" thing. If Jackson's comment isn't racism, I don't know what it is.

    September 19, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. E.Block Kansas City, MO

    Gee Jesse, that's a bit of a racist comment.

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Bill, Huntington Beach, CA

    Jesse is quite DIVISIVE.....

    Obama should reply by asking Jesse, "Should I forsake my marriage vows and fornicate with a different woman, have a child out of wedlock to be more black like you Jesse?"

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Mike, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Really, who cares if he acts black or white or any other color as long as he acts like a member of the human race.

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Jeremy, Columbus, Ohio

    It is a sad day in religious and political history, when a former well respected Preacher and Presidential candidate makes a comment as dumb and insensitive as that.

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Burnsville, MN

    Is acting white a bad or good thing, and how is that this man can get away with a racial comment like that. I wonder?????

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. R.C Jenkins

    Jesse Jackson shut your big fat mouth
    and worry about keeping your you know
    what in your pants. We have not forgotten you cheated on your wife and had a baby out of wedlock. LOSER!

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. lisa

    Know seeing how the wonderful Rev.Jackson made a racial comment about acting like he's white!!! Maybe
    white people need to start yelling

    September 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Nikki Washington D.C.

    Jesse Jackson is a joke. Should Obama emulate him? cheat on his wife and father an out of wedlock child???? Is that what he equates to acting black? I feel sorry for anyone who takes this racist idiot serious. I am 40 years old and black and I get so tired of hearing the media speak of this disgraced idiot and that sack of crap Al Sharpton like they are the spokes people for Black Americans.... I don't need a felon and a philanderer to tell me how to live my life. Acting White, give me a break!!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Jermika, TX

    Alright that's the last straw. No more ticker for me. "Stories" that I read here are always things that I never see elsewhere in the news. So that either means that it's untrue or just crap that CNN reports just to get the troops riled up.

    Too through. This is worse that US Weekly or the National Enquirer.


    September 19, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. linda, peachtree city Ga

    Comments like the one Rev. Jackson made, would have been ripped apart by the black community if a white member of the cloth uttered them about a white politician running for office actig black. The division between races and religion will continue to widen as long as people put a color on every statement, every incident, every action. As a white person am I offended. Hell no. I take it from the source. Makes me healthier. Frankly, I'm over it.

    September 19, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. GenX, Kansas

    what an idiot. Jackson's completely outdated. I'll be glad when he fades into history with the rest of the backwards-thinking idiots of his generation. Jackson continues to make us black folk look bad. Like someone said early, Go AWAY Jackson!

    September 19, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. David, Dallas Tx

    Ken in Ohio said: This is why Barack Obama is a serious presidential candidate and Jesse Jackson never was. It's time to take the focus off of race.

    Nicely said, sir. Nicely said.

    September 19, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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