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. Steve, Tempe, Arizona

    I hope that Mr. Jackson will read the comments from these bloggers.

    Does he not see the hypocricy in his statement? The likes of Jackson and Al Sharpton rush to judgement with the Duke lacrosse players and are ready to hang them, yet rush to the defense and scream about judging these African-American kids who are accused of a crime.

    Where are the apologies, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton, over the Duke lacross case?

    Now maybe Mr. Jackson will realize why, with statements like this, he has no chance of ever becoming President. I think the American people, of all colors, see the racism in his remarks.

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Teresa, Stockton, California

    Jesse Jackson makes me sick, and he does not represent me in anyway! The last person I would want at my side during a crisis is Jesse Jackson. Shame on you Jesse, for acting/being ignorant!

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. jake, nowhere, illinois

    Jesse Jackson is a Racist..Plain and simple

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Jen, Charlotte NC

    I'm tried of people saying "you act like you're white" or whatever in a derogatory way. If, say, Hilary Clinton, had gotten up and said "Oh come one Obama, you're acting too black" What the hec do you think would have happened? Sick of this double attitude. Rise above...stop thinking just because you act a certain way its more one color or another. We are all just people, deal with it.

    September 19, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Jennifer, Laurel, Maryland

    I would offer Rev. Jackson some words of wisdom. "Think before you speak." Just because Barack Obama is not making the Louisiana Six his main focus at this time, does not mean he is insensitive to racial strive in this country. I agree Rev. Jackson has a long legacy of civil rights history to his name. However, he is in no way, in my opinion, able to paint Barack Obama in a "white" corner. Rev. Jackson.... Barack Obama is not your "piece of clay." He is an accomplished politican and a enlightened human being. Give the man some credit.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Julia H College Station, TX

    Jesse, I think I SHOULD be offended as this sounds like a racist remark. But you know, I could care less, small minded people make stupid statements. Which you of ALL people, MR. STAND UP for equality amongst races, should know better than to make remarks like that. I was raised to love and respect all races, Jesse stop dissecting others and just worry about Jesse.To think Jesse is a leader of sorts boggles my mind, he is such a hypocrit.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Kristi, Wichita KS

    When did a case of "right or wrong" turn into "white or black". Just shut up Mr. Jackson, you're only embarassing your ignorant self.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Matt Kansas City, MO

    How come it's not a media circus in Imus-like fashion? I know what to do! Get Lou Dobbs to jokingly accuse Hillary Clinton of "acting black" and see how long it takes for people to start screaming for him to lose his job and CNN to issue statements condemning his remarks.

    Mr. Jackson, you aren't helping your cause, unless you're a complete liar and are actually trying to further divide individuals, rather than unite.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Tampa, Fl

    Jesse Jackson represents an age that is thankfully gone! His stupid allegations will only serve to divert attention from the real issues at hand.

    Can someone please tell me how in this day and age we are still tearing each other down with stupid quips of "Acting White"?

    There are a few points that we have to keep in mind the white boy that was beat up by the six black kids only had cuts and bruises. He was treated and released from the hospital on the same day. So forget what you heard about him being almost beaten to death. This was nothing more than a school yard fight. These kids do not deserve 100 years in jail. For those of you that don't understand how "just hanging a noose in a tree" could be considered a treat.....I say you are living in a world all your own.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Nik Washington, DC

    Please read the CNN and other articles about the JENA 6. They did not nearly beat anyone to death. The white student who was beaten was himself harrassing a black youth who had been beaten by white boys (no charges brought against them of course!!) The white boy who was beaten had a few bruies – he went out to a party the same day!!! PLEASE PLEASE find out the facts about this case before posting!

    And yes, I agree with the other posters on this site – it's time for Jesse to sit down.

    September 19, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Sam, Nashville, TN

    Oh my goodness this man drives me up the wall. Get a life Jesse Jackson and put away that race card your always playing.

    September 19, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Anonymous, Albany New York

    The last time I checked, there was not a test to measure the blackness of a person. Statements like this from a man who is suppose to be a prestigious leader in the black community only show how little strides we have taken to become unified instead of seperating ourselves. Jackson, Sharpton and Obama NEED to focus on the poor girl in West Virginia that was brutally assaulted because she was BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Anthony - Midwest

    When is Mr. Jackson going to realize that he is becoming more and more irrelevant with every stupid thing that comes out of his mouth!!! My advice to him is quit bumping your gums and do something positive, GO AWAY!!!!!

    September 19, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Mr. Knowledge, Marksville Louisiana

    Jessie Jackson is a loud mouth discrace to his own race. "Acting white?", what ever happened to acting like a human being. There is a lot more to Barack Obama than just what he say's about the Jena incident, which by the way, he is totally against the current situation. Things like this only cause more racial seperation. What should have happened is you take all the white boys who hung the nooses and the black boys in the fight and hand cuff them together for a few weeks. Let them get to know each other a little bit and make them realize that when the chips are down, we are all the same. I'm willing to bet that if this happened there might be some new best friends made.

    September 19, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. ronn jerusalem

    What a nazi

    September 19, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Damon, Canada

    Acting white?? isn't that a form of racisim in itself? What exactly does acting white mean?

    September 19, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Rhonda VA

    JB in Boston, MA. You obviously know nothing about this case. There was a fight in the school yard, the kid that was hurt had a black eye. He was in no way near death. It amazes me how people have a comment and don't have all of the facts. The student went to school that night, and received his class ring. Nothing was wrong with him. This is injustice, plain and simple. It has to stop. Nothing happened to the guy who pulled the shotgun on the same kids, but when they took the shotgun, to keep him from shooting them they were charged with theft! How ridiculous! Where is the attempted murder charge for this person? Jena is a racist town whose transgressions are being brought to light. All racists, pay attention...your kind will not be tolerated.

    September 19, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Sharon, Lexington, SC

    I'm beginning to think Jesse doesn't like white people......

    September 19, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Disgusted with n*****s !

    So, where is "OUR" NAACP to stand up for OUR "BRUTTHERS" rights, and get Jesse crucified on the remarks he made? Oh yeah, that's right, we don't have anyone...typical. Let's see if theres anymore rope.

    September 19, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. sacto

    Old Jesse going to be doing double duty. Shouldn't he be out helping OJ in his deal?

    September 19, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Dorian, Buffalo NY

    while I am not condoning the behavior of the Jena 6, there are some issues that need to be cleared up:
    1. the whites only tree is the only shade tree in the school area
    2. the kid the 6 students were accused of beating up had brandished a gun and threatened to kill them. the white kid did not face any charges for that behavior.
    3. Bell was convicted by an all-white jury

    September 19, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Sarah, Jacksonville, FL

    This is ridiculous. I am a black woman who grew up hearing too often that I "act white." It's a highly offensive statement but it's not hard to believe that it came from Jesse Jackson. And I guess since I'm black that I'm supposed to fully support the Jena 6. I'm glad the charges were reduced to battery, but the charges shouldn't be completely dropped. As for the white students, they should be charged with a hate crime and get expelled from school instead of in school suspension.

    As for Senator Obama, he's not obligated to be riled up by the Jena case. Reverend Jackson has yet another case of diarrhea of the mouth.

    September 19, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. JT Atlanta, GA

    Very disgracefeul comment! Congrats Jesse you've proven that you are no better than the KKK! You're a racist and a hypocrite! Thank God you lost your bid for President back in '88.

    September 19, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Lynn from Illinois

    I am so tired of Jesse Jackson and his racists remarks... If I were to use the comment that someone was "acting white", it would be all over the front pages, I'd be ripped apart by the media, etc... but yet, he continues to make these kind of comments.. Al Sharpton is no better. It's time that we, as Americans, speak out against these two men... one more thought, what church is Jesse Jackson a reverend of?? What college did he go to for his accreditation? I think it's just a title he gave himself...

    September 19, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Vicki, Columbus, Ohio

    Jesse, you of all people should understand the "slight of hand" that has historically, institutionally, economically and systematically always been used to divide and conquer Black people across the globe. Pit prominent Black leaders against each other in a public forum. (Willie Lynch is alive and well!) A fight to show white America who is the "HNIC". A fight to show white America who is blacker. Every black person – from named to un-named – who has died for the cause of black people has literally died in vain. Blood let for nothing because we still ain't got it right. They are rolling over in their graves because we are still walking and talking with our slave mentality. Free your mind, Jesse. Obama is freeing his.

    September 19, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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