November 27th, 2007
01:20 PM ET
12 years ago

Jesse Jackson: Dem candidates ignoring blacks

Jackson is highly critical of the Democratic presidential candidates in an Op-ed Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a high-profile backer of Sen. Barack Obama's White House bid, says all the Democratic presidential candidates are ignoring African-American issues except former Sen. John Edwards.

"The Democratic candidates - with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign - have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country," Jackson writes in a Chicago Sun-Times Op-ed appearing in Tuesday's edition.

"The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention," Jackson continued. "No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, Louisiana, not one candidate showed up."

Jackson, who endorsed Obama's candidacy earlier this year, previously caused a headache for the campaign when he reportedly told a South Carolina audience in September that the Illinois Democrat is "acting like he's white."

Criticizing the Democratic candidates' response to the case in Jena, Louisiana, Jackson also said then Obama needed to be "bolder" in his stances if he hoped to do well in South Carolina - a state in which African Americans constitute more than 50 percent of Democratic primary voters.

Following those comments, Jackson later issued a statement reaffirming his support for Obama and commending him for "speaking out and demanding fairness on his defining issue."

But in Monday's Op-ed, Jackson writes, "it is no longer acceptable for candidates to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to entrenched discrimination and still expect to reap our votes."

In response to Jackson's comments, the Obama campaign notes the Illinois senator unveiled a $6 billion package of programs in July that aims to combat urban poverty.

The plan includes the creation of affordable housing and jobs, providing education and financial support for parents, and creating an institution modeled after the World Bank specifically for America's cities.

Obama campaign spokesperson Candice Tolliver told CNN, “We encourage Rev Jackson to closely examine the Senator’s platform and take another look”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Lawdog90

    I have been saying all along that the only candidate in the entire field who has a platform to address the issues of all Americans is John Edwards. So, why is Jesse Jackson so supportive of Obama? Why not support the candidate who addresses the issues? Must be only because Obama is black. For shame!

    November 27, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Angelina Julie Lexington Kentucky

    JENA-6!!! I wish these civil rights leaders cared as much about civil rights as they do fame and fortune. MY GOSH! If Jesse Jackson cared at all about "rights" he'd realize that a man was gang-assaulted and left for dead over a stupid noose! If some person burned a crucifix in front of my face and I turned around and killed him for it, who committed the greater offense???? Wake up!

    November 27, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    As an African- American who has been reading the proposals of all of the Democrats, I think they have all kept me well informed. I don't feel that my concerns have been ignored.

    Health care, education and ending the Iraq war are my issues. I want a strong economy with jobs in the US and I want a justice system that works for all.

    My hope is that the next president of the US will represent all people, not just a few.

    Rev. Jackson does not speak for the vast majority of African-American voters. CNN should stop giving Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson "elected spokesmen" roles. They often seek the limelight but add little to the political discourse.

    November 27, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Bo

    You need to stop censoring people and let them speak!

    November 27, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Dave, New York, NY

    John from Pittsburgh: What question are you asking? Are you asking how slavery affects us all?

    To answer your question: take a look at the post by "sickofracists" on 11/27 at 3:33pm. The poster says without "racism" people like Jesse Jackson would be unemployed.

    Its a pretty smart comment – think about it for awhile. Do you still believe racism does not exist? How can you be a person of good conscience and *not* understand how this problem affects us all?

    Think of it this way: if you see a starving child born into poverty due to no fault of their own – and with no control over their life do you not feel sad? Doesn't it break your heart?

    Well, the difference between progressive/liberal people and conservatives is that when we feel that pain in our heart we actually *listen* to our conscience and *do* something about it.

    How anyone can say they have any sense of morality but not understand this simple truth is completely beyond me.

    And as to your comment about ghetto people: you must really be clueless. I'd like to see you make that ignorant remark to a 6 year old child born in the ghetto with no control over their destiny. You sir, have no heart.

    November 27, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Wallace Chicago IL


    I think Jesse's time is–and has been up. I also like the comments on here today.

    Not a lot of racism, just pure truth. Frankly, I can't believe it, but it's great. Persons are starting to understand that injustice PERIOD, regardless of race, is WRONG. Yes, all races are struggling– Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. Poverty, lay-offs, and a bad economy are not issues experienced by one race.

    Oh, and to the ignorant comment about how "white people have their own party[GOP], go start your own"– that is simply stupidity. Folks, do you know how many African Americans voted for Bush in 2004? Do your homework before spewing this nonsense. Unfortunately, that was one of the reasons he won–Evangelical, African-American Christians.

    Take care.


    November 27, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Gromansky, Beaverton, Oregon

    Jesse Jackson has a vested interest in keeping alive the notion that the Black community is in a catastrophic meltdown. Instead of pointing out that the various constituencies are all in this together, and all Democrats must work hard to defeat the Republicans in the next election cycle, Jackson seems to have his hand out, asking for extra goodies. Since nobody has promised him the moon, stars, and planets, he is disappointed. I hope he learns to get used to it, and that none of the current crop of candidates repeat the mistakes of Democrats past, who over-pandered in the primaries and flamed out in the general election.

    November 27, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Lyn, Tucson

    Shame on CNN for giving this man a forum. He is an antagonist of evolution.

    November 27, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Gmonster, xoxox, mo

    The reality is that Jackson has become something of a joke. Urban poverty should be a concern and priority of every American, but that doesn't mean campaigning about is a wise political decision. The number one concern of these candidates is to be elected – bottom line.

    November 27, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. Chi Chi, Palm Beach Fl.

    JESSE JACKSON is a divider. He rarely reaches out to whites but uses that same old rhetoric about being a victim. There's never been more opportunity in the history of the world than right here, right now in America. People make the difference, not government Jesse. Tell your "people" to go get a job.

    November 27, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Surrealist, Fort Myers, Fl

    No doubt about...Jesse can still turn a crowd. Wow 132 posts and still counting!! I think he's way off target. But Wow!! Obama represents a shining example for Americans. He shouldn't have to prove himself–his platform extends to those in need–regardless of color. It isn't sound practice to cry discrimination unless there is absolutely clear evidence–particularly when your victims have committed felonious acts like assault and battery and attempted murder.

    November 27, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Jesse Jackson ... the liberal's answer to Ann Koulter.

    Too bad we can't lock both of them in a room, add Rush Limbaugh, and throw away the key.

    November 27, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. Josh Key West, Fl.

    Rev.Jessie, Rev.Jessie, Whatcha' gonna do, Whatcha' gonna do when they come for YOU? There's a new minority in town Jessie & they believe not only whites, BUT blacks TOO have it MUCH better off than they do! They'll be a comin' to prove they're more discriminated against than you! Whatcha' gonna do when they "Call YOU A Racist and Demand You Give Up What They Don't Have"? Have a nice day!

    November 27, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Wendy, Gloucester, NJ

    Jessee needs to step down and let someone who lives in the real world speak instead. Just where was Mr. Jackson after Hurricane Katrina? Was he organizing aid to help "his" people virtually abandoned in New Orleans? No. Did he go down to offer his assistance and prayers? No. Did he accuse others of not organizing aid or offering assistance? You bet!!! In full amplification! Democrats are more likely to be touching base with Black voters than are Republicans, or hasn't JJ noticed? Admittedly, we don't have the best crop to pick from on either side, but have known which side their bread's buttered on for years. If only they would live up to their empty promises!!

    November 27, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Wendy, Gloucester, NJ (correction!!)

    Jessee needs to step down and let someone who lives in the real world speak instead. Just where was Mr. Jackson after Hurricane Katrina? Was he organizing aid to help "his" people virtually abandoned in New Orleans? No. Did he go down to offer his assistance and prayers? No. Did he accuse others of not organizing aid or offering assistance? You bet!!! In full amplification! Democrats are more likely to be touching base with Black voters than are Republicans, or hasn't JJ noticed? Admittedly, we don't have the best crop to pick from on either side, but Democrats have known which side their bread's buttered on for years. If only they would live up to their empty promises!!

    November 27, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  16. Linda - Albany, NY

    To all those that support the gasoline that make up people like Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton:

    You're only a victim if you allow yourself to be a victim.

    Furthermore, to those crying of "injustice" and "slavery," when were any of you "owned" as a slave? Please, if anyone has reason to cry foul, it would be our American Indians and you don't hear half as much belly-aching from them as you do from others!

    Stop whining like babies, pick yourself up off the floor and move on. You're stronger than idiots like Jesse Jackson would have you believe.

    November 27, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. W. Oliver Webb

    Some of "you people" need to learn how to separate the message from the messenger. True – there are many candidates who address issues that are acute and common to most citizens; but there are some issues, mostly unstated, that are peculiar and specific to unique segments of U.S. citizenry. And Mr. Jackson's message speaks about those issues which seem dormant to campaigns which affect or bother Black people, slave descendants and others who may be sensitive to issues, including:

    1. disparate and unfair prosecution and sentencing of Blacks, especially Black men;

    2. incompetence of US government in responding to Gulf Coast victims of Katrina;

    3. joblessness and under-employment of Blacks – even Black men with degrees (I'm aware of several Black men with MBAs and other graduate degrees who are or were un/under-employed for over a year...)!;

    4. lack of fair lending to sound business efforts and ventures spearheaded by competent Black entrepreneurs, SBA has been totally useless and ineffective for Black businesses and entrepreneurs since 1992;

    As for you other complainers; Jackson and Sharpton could die tomorrow and these issues would still be rife in our country until effectively and fairly addressed.

    In this, our, age of abundant media, data and information, perhaps its too much to expect critical thinking, in depth analysis, and consideration of alternate perspectives and solutions???

    November 27, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. Sandman, Des Moines IA

    Worst of all is these candidates are ignoring us German-Irish-Cherokee-Americans and our issues! How dare they!
    Vote for RuPaul 08!

    November 27, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  19. Chris Brignole, Austin, TX

    Once again, Jesse “the irrelevant” has to say something meaningless. I personally think if Jesse would shut up about “black” and allow voters to think about issues it would validate the black community as “citizens” equally concerned about issues facing the US. Security, economy, immigration and tax reform are issues that can not be painted as black or white and those that try to do so merely detract from what is in the best interest of the country. Idiots like Jesse and Jimmy Carter are more interested in how they are perceived than they are about any one group. Until the media wakes up and stops the elevation of these insignificants we will be stuck with Mc-news bites that detract from the true issues facing our country. Wake up citizens; get educated about the issues and vote based on that education not on what fools like Jesse, Jimmy or Rush put in your head!

    November 28, 2007 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  20. Bill, Lagrange, GA

    Get offa Jessie's back! So what if Obama snorts a little coke – if you don't vote for him you're a racist and Islamiphobic!

    November 28, 2007 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  21. Jorge, New Orleans, LA

    Now I wonder, what J Jackson had done for the African Americans? He only plays the race tag in order to exploit the black communities. Who pays J Jackson? Who employs him? Does he pay taxes? Come on..give us an example of how U help your community. Who pays for your suits and trips? This guy and Al Sharpon need to be banned from any news coverage. You are sucking the black race economically dry. Plse, quit being a leach! Do something constructive for a change.

    November 28, 2007 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  22. Your Busted, TX

    I think Jesse's real affiliation should be the Pseudo-American race.

    When Nixon was President, self-proclaimed Rev. Jesse Jackson showed his true "colors" on racism when he talked about the Jewish community in America. He stated that he was "sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust". He even went so far as to refer to New York City as "Hymietown" in 1984 in an interview with a Washington Post Reporter.

    So...."Rev." Jackson....what's this all about? Oh yeah...and how's that $3000 a month in child support working for you with your child born of an affair?

    And YOU DARE to try and teach Americans about ETHICS and what is right? Maybe you should, as the Good Book says,

    "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

    Matthew 7:4-5

    November 28, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. Jim Topeka, Kansas

    Dear Jesse, the only one being ignored is you.

    November 28, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Dave, NY, NY

    Of course they are ignoring black issues because as usual the 90% of the black population will blindly vote for the Democrat party because the Republicans are the "devil"......

    November 28, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Seam, Philly PA

    Can someone please give Jackson and Sharpton their 40 Acres and a Mule so they can shut up? I am a young black male, and I feel these so-called black leaders are out of touch.

    November 28, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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