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. Dorothy Crawford in Dallas, Texas

    I wish Jesse Jackson would just go away. He does not represent anyone but continues to portray himself as a leader. He is insignificant, unimportant and should just go home and stay out of the media. Please let him know that he is living on his own ego because no one really likes him.

    September 19, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Jesse, shut up and sit down. The country is tired of your whining.

    September 19, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Dave

    Jackson is no better than David Duke. They both make their money encouraging racism. Hey jesse, how about getting a real job, you hypocrite?

    September 19, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Heather, Kalamazoo, MI

    MANY people switch dialects to one they feel more comfortable with in that specific crowd – this is life, this is normal, it is common. Read a book on linguistics or dialects and then start typing once you're no longer ignorant to the topic.

    September 19, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Jennifer, Decatur, AL

    You Jesse you are acting "black". Granted more should be done to help the Jena six. You and others are so reactive and not proactive. When is the last time we went to some of our poorest neighborhoods and volunteered. We don't do enough for ourselves. Dr. King preached non violence. Those boys should have used their brains and not their fist to beat the system. We should be teaching our kids how to think and utilize their resource and turn the other cheek. If they keep living this will not be the only time someone does them wrong. No this is not the defining moment everyday is a defining moment. It is up to all of us to help each other.

    September 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Caren

    I would like to add that Hillary Clinton made a statement about this injustice within days of the incident. Had it posted on her website and everything. I went to Obama's site to see what he had to say and found NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! You guys still drinking his kool-aid???????

    September 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Paul, Rockford IL

    Veronica, I would like to respectfully disagree with you. Had light colored children beat up a dark colored child the charges would be far worse and the community would not try to defend the boys.
    May I remind us what happen to the three Duke students last year? Those three boys (and the coach that had absolutely nothing to do with it)received death threats from the begining. Did the community stand behind them? And the charges they faced were way over the top considering the evidence was not extremely fragile.

    I encourage the residents of this country to step up and act as themselves without any racial bias. Then, maybe we will stop looking at things as dark skinned boys beating up a light skinned boy or three light skinned boys hurting a dark skinned woman. Insead four boys beating up one boy and three boys hurting one woman. Then let the justice take its appropriate course.

    Thank you for your time.

    September 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Chris, Orlando, FL

    I'm not sure who is the biggest racist, Jackson or Sharpton. These are the first two to preach unity, but are the first to make everything a Black Vs White issue.

    September 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Greg, Washington DC

    Jesse Jackson is an idiot. "Acting White"? I'm black and love Obama's philosophy. Of course there is lots of racism in this country. So what? It isn't going to change. We need to fix the things we can fix. We need to change the way we treat each other. We need to take care of OUR communities. We need to support black businesses. And WTF is acting white?

    September 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Posted By Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA : September 19, 2007 12:42 pm

    Do you even know why these kids fought in the first place? If not, I suggest you use the googles on the internet tubes. Your comment screams of ignorance.

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Erin Schmidtke, Eden Prairie, MN

    What a horrible thing to say in a time when race should be a non-issue. There are already too many racial problems (still) in this country, as is evident by the Jena cases. Jesse Jackson is just contributing to this problem by trying to force everyone into these stereotypes of his. I thought we were all equal.

    Barack Obama is a wonderful candidate, who responded appropriately to this problem. I'd be happy to have him as our president.

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. lavelle Rochester,ny

    This is a sad sad day I can honestly say that. MLK is turning in his grave as we speak. Good job Jesse werent you there for the "I have a dream" speech?

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Helen W., Savannah, Georgia

    Gosh, I thought we had been chastised over and over again about being color-blind. Guess not.

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Jane, Waco Texas

    I would like to know what the heck "acting white" actually is. You KNOW the racist uproar that would occur if, let's say Hillary Clinton accused John Edwards of "acting black". Oh how the equal rights and discrimination activists would be all over that statement!

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Mike

    The problem I have with all this is what would Jessie Jackson and other civil rights leaders attitudes have been had the attackers been white and the victim black? I think we all know the answer to that. They would have been screaming that this was a race motivated hate crime.

    I used to be a supporter of both the NAACP and the Rainbow Coalition but I have had to drop my support for both organizations because I cannot in good consience support any organization that promotes any form of racism regardless of the reason.

    September 19, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Bruce, Irvine CA

    Jesse Jackson, one of America's most blatant racists is at it again. What more would you expect out of a buffoon like Jackson?

    September 19, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Eric Raines, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

    You've got to be kidding me. If we're ever going to see racial equality in this country, when are we going to stop saying people "act black" or "act white".

    People act like people. I'm sure most people know a lot of black people who don't use slang, wear baggy pants, or fit those other stereotypes. I know lots of white people who use slang, wear gold chains. They're just people acting how they want to act, not trying to have a different skin pigmentation.

    September 19, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Jim, Washington, DC

    The real question is why does CNN continue to provide Jackson and Sharpton a platform for their nonsense? They are both professional race-baiters that have been repeatedly discredited and don't have a place in today's world.

    Black America, they are only holding you back.

    September 19, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Jay, NYC, NY

    The Jena 6 case is a serious issue in two respects: First, violence was committed as oppossed to peacefully addressing the underlying problems affecting both white and black students at that school. Second, according to articles that I read, black students were threatened with a shotgun by a student or family member and law enforcement did not apply harsh disciplinary actions against the other students. Lastly, although I agree anybody fighting should be held accountable, how were those black students identified? Was there a video produced to confirm identities? Or was the process of selection one of "there is a black guy running near or away from the scene" grab him?

    At the end of the day, racism and intolerance has destroyed many souls/minds and many have fallen victim to scandels, threats, or physical harm unneccessarily. I hope we take note of this reoccurring problem as we move on in OUR generation.

    A lie will remain a lie even if the entire world belives the myth.

    September 19, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Keith, NJ

    The jews had it worse than you and do you hear them cryin?

    September 19, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Lizzy, Dallas Texas

    I would bet that if the roles were reversed... that if it were white teenage students who beat a black student nearly to death that Rev Jesse Jackson would be calling it a hate crime and that whatever punishment that would be delt would be too light... So who is racist now???? In my opinion Jesse Jackson is the biggest racist of all.

    September 19, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. André, Seattle, WA

    Apparently many of those commenting on this article don't know enough about the Jena 6 situation to comment about it. I have read at least 4 comments hear that say that 6 black kids beat the crap out of a white kid. Six black kids did beat up a white kid after tensions that were raising over the course of months. But this kid that they beat up was well enough to attend a school dance the same evening of the fight. He attended a school social the same night! He was not beaten nearly to death. Please get your facts straight. There is a national response to this story for a reason – this isn't a black situation – its an American situation.
    I can't believe some of the ignorance.

    September 19, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Anonymous, Philadelphia PA

    For someone who's crusading against racism, how can it get much worse than labelling how people act as 'black' or 'white'??

    September 19, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. bob wilber In

    shut the hell up Mr jackson

    September 19, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Ian, Kansas City

    Jesse Jackson is a perfect example of why there will always be racial tension. He is a moron who – it seems- sets out to make everybody in the world hate black people (except of course for other black people). And yes, I said "black." Not African American. I am white and was raised in a 50/50 black white neighborhood. I can say that Jesse Jackson is a poor example of what a black lead should be. And, uh, what about the Duke case? Hey Jesse, care to retract some of your over-hyped, ignorant statements on this one?

    September 19, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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