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.

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (828 Responses)
  1. Mark Furrman, Los Angeles, CA

    Typical example of the double standard regarding racism in this country

    September 19, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. John, Round Rock, Texas

    I do not believe that Senator Obama has sufficient wisdom of years to be President of the US. However, if he is Jesse's replacement for television airtime, I must say, "Welcome aboard, sir. We're glad to have you here." To Mr. Jackson I would say, "Get lost, and stay there." Tell the NAACP that you will reduce your support check by $10 per year, every time Jesse gets on TV. They'll shut him up and we can get back to building this fine country that God has given us.

    September 19, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Marsha Robinson, San Antonio, TX

    As a proud African-American I find Jesse Jackson's outdated approach to fighting civil rights just plain silly. Instead crafting reasoned arguments for his views, he continues to be imflammatory and divisive and let's not forget camera ready. I'm not a great fan of any of the candidates from either party, but Obama did not deserve that juvenile attack.

    September 19, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Tee, Minneapolis, MN

    Isn't it ironic that the leader, MLK, of whom Jesse Jackson claimed to be a follower, said (paraphrased), I envision a time in America where someone would be judged by the content of his/her character, and not by the color of his/her skin.

    Mr Jackson, stop turning back the hands of time!

    September 19, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Peter Gozinya, DC

    Jesse..dont you have some more adultery to commit? Some more lying strippers (Duke) to immediately jump to the aid of when they falsely accuse innocent honor students? Perhaps some more white peoples food to spit in? Maybe some more anti-semitic references to spew? And had your chance at a presidential run...twice. And lost..twice.

    Beat it.

    September 19, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. KP, Connecticut

    Maybe all you people saying the Jena 6 are degenerates and what not should first understand what happened. First, a black student sitting under 'a white tree' was tormented, and nooses were hung on the tree the next day. This case was thrown out by the School Board AS A PRANK, and when the black students though to protest, the DA came to the schools saying he could 'take away your lives with a stroke of a pen'.. A black kid was later beat up (much worse than the white boy) at a party and nothing was done for him. Later, these 6 african-americans were called N****** by the young white boy. The boy was released THAT evening with minor injuries.

    September 19, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Stuart, Pittsburgh, PA

    I now crown Jesse Jackson........ "King Racist"

    September 19, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Junker Blues Hernando MS

    Jessie Jackson is the biggest racist in America. Jackson said, ""If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena." Well, you're not a candidate! If he were a candidate, he would most likely lose due to his neglect of white people. Sure, he's done a lot for the black communities....and that is a good thing; but candidates and people in general should help everyone.

    Junker Blues

    September 19, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Bob, Lansing MI

    To start with I'm white (actually I'm kind of pinkish tan or some other color) just so you know. Why is it that every time an articulate, educated black person gains some prominence, some other black people claim that she or he is "too white"? Being an intelligent, thoughtful person isn't the sole purview of white people. Jesse, you are as bigoted as they come.

    September 19, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Disappointed, Indianapolis, In

    I get tired hearing what Jesse has to say. Sometimes I think he just likes to hear himself talk.

    September 19, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Look in Mirror Jesse!

    Don't be critical or pass judgement of other people. You do not set any good examples for any person of any race.

    September 19, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Donna Gray Stratford, CT

    I don't think that it is fair for Rev. Jackson to judge Obama, the fact is, he is just as much white as he is black, and maybe there is a reason why he hasn't jumped all over it. Those politicians that are, are just using the situation to further thier campaign, maybe he wants to show that he will not exploit the issue for his own personal gain. If these politicians weren't running for office, trust me, they would not have even batted an eye to this unfortunate ordeal for these young men. And trust, when the election is over, those same politicians will not give a damn

    September 19, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Jeannie, Atlanta Georgia

    Well, I am ALSO a news junkie and I DID HEAR ABOUT JENA, LOUISIANA INCIDENT.

    However, as much as I agree with what Jesse Jackson is doing in Jena. We do not have to backstab one another by making stupid statements like, Obama is not black enough, WHY because he doesn't sound like he's preaching and has a lisp!....Come on people, let's stay together now!...Jesse YOU KNOW BETTER!

    September 19, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Ian, Kansas City

    It's too bad that white people are persecuted if they say things that are true. Things like:
    There is a reason why there is still racism... it's because, as Jesse illustrated for us, black people bring racisim upon themselves.
    You better not say that if you're white, though! Only Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Jason Whitlock are allowed to say that.

    September 19, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Mary, Marlton NJ

    no wonder the world is the way it is with people like Jackson always throwing the race card, what do you mean acting like he's white..

    September 19, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Against Unfair Reporting By CNN

    Very interesting CNN. Barack and Michelle Obama have spoken out very strongly against the injustice in Jena for weeks now. You have not covered this, and a post that I have made previously linking your readers to stories that confirm this have disappeared.

    Hillary Clinton was asked by the people of Jena to make a statement and she waited for several days, until after charges were reduced, to make a statement.

    Now you are running with a story about Jesse Jackson (who now says he does not remember saying Barack Obama is "acting white") without accurately representing Senator Obama's previous statements.

    Coincidentally, as you bring everyones attention to this case, Bill Clinton is scheduled to be in Jena tomorrow. Not Hillary, mind you, but Bill.

    Interesting timing CNN. No bias here. Let's just see if this post makes it and stays on the page.

    September 19, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Celeste Dillon Gordon Shaker Heights, OH

    I have had it with African Americans slamming each other as "acting white." What exactly does that mean? I take it as an insult. Whites and Blacks are equally diverse in socio-economic stature. Shame on Jesse.

    September 19, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Brandon Evansville, Indiana

    Everytime we think racism is gone and we may finally be living in a color-blind society a so-called activist AGAINST racism makes a comment that applies it to our culture again. If it weren't for Jesse Jackson complaining about nearly everything racial-related there would be far less of a problem in terms of the racism in the United States. I truly believe that racism is no longer viewed in people's minds the way it once was but because of people like Rev. Jackson it is still reminded far too often.

    September 19, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Mia, Stafford, VA

    People go get the ENTIRE story of the JENA 6 before jumping to conclusions.

    9 White kids, jumped a black kid, and broke a bottle over his head 2 days before the 6 Black kids jumped the 1 white kid, that was making fun of the kid that was beaten up by the 9 kids.

    Did I mention that only 1 white kid was charged, and give probation? If breaking a bottle over someones head isn't a deadly weapon, I struggle with shoes being a deadly weapon?

    I think the white and black kids should be punished, the same,and none of them as adults. These are all a bunch of kids that are a product of their racist environment.

    By the way, if Jesse Jackson said this he is a JERK!

    September 19, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Susan - New York, N.Y.

    I'd like to ask Jesse Jackson why he made no comments (at least that I'm aware of) about the Duke lacrosse team after they were vindicated and Michael Vick's story. As long as remarks about whites are made, I guess that's okay to him, but if someone makes remarks about blacks, that's not okay. He's a hypocrite and a race baiter. I wish Martin Luther King were alive today so he could hear some of the poison spewing from the likes of Jackson and Al Sharpton...shame on them!!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Derek,Duluth Georgia

    This is the biggest BS I have heard from this clown. As a "white" American I am offended by this latest comment. Once again he is sticking to his race card to further divide Americans on race. I thought America was supposed to be equal according to him? Apparently not

    September 19, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. John, Knoxville TN

    Should Obama walk around holding his Johnson? Is that was Jessee means by acting more black?

    September 19, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Danny U, Kenai, Alaska

    Rather than deepen racial tensions, Jesse Jackson, as a supposed man of God, should preach to all people affected by bigotry to take the higher road. The display of bigotry in the form of nooses in trees disgusts most people of all ethnicities. But, when people like Jesse Jackson exploit such travesties to rail against the system rather than condemning a 6 on 1 attack that sent one young man to the hospital, perhaps he needs to reevaluate his priorties. Had 6 white kids attacked one black kid, I doubt Reverend Jackson would be seeking their release and lessening of charges. And then he's going to use the situation to badmouth Senator Obama who, in my opinion, provides the most relaistic chance of uniting this country.

    September 19, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. sacto

    Does Jesse actually have a real job? just curious.

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. North Carolina

    He should have NEVER made a comment like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    He is a leader??? He is suppose to be trying to make things better not deviding race and putting others down. It's people like him that keep this race fight going. Ignorance is the word. ENOUGH allready!

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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