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. Ana, Nebraska

    When will they get it? Obviously Jackson doesn't since he's not in the situation any longer but he sure likes to perpetuate his only popularity, fame and income by playing it up. The whole issues behind the plight of African-Americans & urban poverty is because of the Democrats & their creation of the welfare system. The solution is simple – stay in school; do well in school; further your education by getting an advanced degree then prove your knowledge & worth in your career just like the rest of us do. Quit depending on the system, handouts & special favors or consideration via race.

    November 27, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Jeff, Santa Rosa CA

    Absolutely ridiculous. Who in the world elected CNN to put forth the comments of maticulously and painstakingly tried and true morons. Jesse Jackson has his own agenda, which is his image. If you want to talk about issues, why don't you go back to some actual hard-hitting reporting rather than regurgitating the verbal vomit that comes from sycophants such as Jesse Jackson. His name makes me flinch. Grow up CNN.

    November 27, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Mike, Slayton, MN

    African American issues? Get a helmet and get in the game Jesse! They are all addressing "American" issues. You don't hear us gripe about the candidates not addressing the issues of the caucasian race! We're all Americans, no matter what color/race we are... if you think you can do better Uncle Jesse... get in the game!

    November 27, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Mike in Austin

    Democratic candidates have "always" ignored black people. They just use them to get elected, then go on their merry way!

    November 27, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Susan, Des Moines, IA

    Jesse...stop fathering bastard children through affairs you have with employees. Maybe that's why you love Bill Clinton so much. Aldultery loves company.

    November 27, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Mark-Tulsa, OK

    Jesse and Al (Sharpton) one listens to you anymore. Keep up the great work...shaking down companies for money by threatening them with signs/protests...i'm sure Dr. King was all about that 'dream'.

    November 27, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Dave, New York, NY

    Sick and Tired, TX: from the tone of your comment you may be surprised to hear that I agree with you on the oppression of women – women are in fact the *most* oppressed group in the world and this must be addressed.

    But, I am saddened when I hear one person denying justice to another simply because they are "oppressed too."

    How about a little "justice for all?"

    November 27, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Jesse Jackson needs to go crawl under a rock somewhere

    November 27, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Dave, New York, NY

    Chris, Akron Ohio:

    It is shallow ans selfish comments like this that keep us from ever solving the problem of racism. You talk as is 100 years is a long time... it's not!

    To make it worse, a mere 50 years ago segregation was *legal*. For most of us, that means either we – or our parents – were alive at that time.

    Wake up. If you think this is not your responsibility because you "weren't there" you are living in a dream.

    Martin Luther King Jr taught that when injustice affects the least of us – it affects us all.

    But hey, it's a free country I guess, and you don't really *have* to care about anyone but yourself. How a person with any conscience could live that way I will never understand - but more power to you if that's the way you want to live.

    November 27, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Matthew Raleigh, Indianapolis IN

    Some of the comments that I am reading just blow my mind. The black population does have some issues that need to be addressed. This isn't to say that their issues are more important than others.. but they are certainly important on a national scale. Jesse Jackson may not be the best messenger but his message is dead on. As a nation, we are only as strong as our weakest link and black men especially in America have a lot of challenges to overcome. When we provide an environment for our black young people to lead strong and healthy lives, we all benefit. Hate the messenger but respect the message.

    November 27, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Jamal Lewis

    i am so sick of jesse jackson. everything is about race. without race issues he would be jobless which is why he will never let it die. he is the only one who keeps the black man down with insulting comments as though we are without education nor can get one. and without him the black man will go nowhere in life. if he wants to really help have all the funding of is rainbow organization back to the people as well as his rolex watches he own. we don't need his help. we can do it on our own!

    November 27, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Lee Va.

    Jesse and Al look for any opportunity to get on their soap box and scream "discrimination!!!". I believe they both want to keep racism alive and well becuase if it ever really went away they would have nothing to do with their time then.

    Jesse, Al...please do the American people of all color a huge favor and GET A REAL JOB!!! and stop fostering the hate.

    November 27, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Travis Sugarland, Texas

    People, please be patient with Jesse. Once, he was an influential man that was relevant. Recently he has lost his way. Like a great prize fighter, he does not know when to walk away.

    I am black. I gave up on Jesse several year ago when he defended youths who had failed several grades and seldom attended class. They had started a fight at a game...Jesse rushed to their aid.

    Democrats know that blacks will vote for them no matter what. Republicans also are aware of the blind loyalty. Blacks love Clinton, who was unable to find a qualified Afican-American to a high-ranking position. Yet, they hate Bush.

    Jesse is a poverty-pimp that has loss touch. John Edwards has probaly promised him a ride on his jet.

    November 27, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Dave, Greeley, CO

    Talk about discrimination, if I satood up and said "he is acting like he's black" I would be ripped up one side and down the other. Jackson can get away with discrimination and no one says a word!!!!

    November 27, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. keith h., boulder co.

    Im still trying to figure out how he became a "Reverend" and what it is that makes him soo "reverent" . Doesn't he have an illegitmate kid ?

    November 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. MarK Cross Junction VA

    The good Rev.Jackson, stirring the pot of racism. Why no Presidential candidates in Jenna? 1) nobody in their right mind would associate with idiots or racists like jackson or sharpton. 2) guilty is guilty! Jackson must have read about Opra in the news so he has to show his face and attempt to pronounce big words in sentences that he doesn't even know what they mean.

    November 27, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Linda - Albany, NY

    Hey Jesse! Al Sharpton is waiting for you in the sandbox.

    November 27, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Mike BLackmore, St Cloud, FL

    If you were born in the United States, the color of your skin does not necessarily denote your heritage. Newsflash, if you were born in the United States: YOU ARE AN AMERICAN! Is he inacurately referring to Americans of dark color or is he referring to people that just recently immgrated from Africa?

    November 27, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Noble Jones

    ...the Illinois senator unveiled a $6 billion package of programs in July that aims to combat urban poverty. >>


    November 27, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Janice, Chicago, IL

    Is everyone so ignorant to think that race and racism no longer existists in this country? This issue has not gone away, you would have to be blind to believe that. Bringing light to situations and issues that deserve to be examined from a non-white perspective is what a historically white dominated government and society needs.

    By the way Rev. Jackson has supported Obama because he is Rev. Jackson's senator not just because he is black. In addition many of the issues that have been brought up by previous comments are just not accurate. I suggest that you truly look at the past 40 years of service that Rev. Jackson has done before you pass judgment. If you have ever heard him speak you would know that he says "yellow, red, brown, black and white, we are all prescious in God's sight, everybody is somebody." Pay attention people you might learn something.

    November 27, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. slinkymalinky

    Come on Jesse, we all know dem candidates don't ignore blacks, they wait until after their elected..

    November 27, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Phil, Chicago, IL

    Perhaps African Americans should supporting Ron Paul who stresses self-reliance. The `Great Society` has destroyed the black family. It seems that the democrats have used blacks all along.

    November 27, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Paul Najarro

    I can understand the plight Rev Jackson is trying to say, but I want to know when is this country going to an stop asking what we are doing for specific races and say what are we doing for our country. It’s not just blacks that are poor, it’s not just Hispanics that are in gangs, and it’s not whites that are homeless. What kind of color labeling is that? Where is our responsibility to our own County as we feed the world? As long as we keep interjecting race how can we come together as one? Our laws protect us all as one nation don’t they? “One nation under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, anyone who doesn’t believe in this doesn’t not deserve to be here. We need to work together as one nation; we are not a county of tribes fighting for land. What you going to do for our country? Does that not include me? Should that worry me? People do not come to this country to run from one problem to come to another. Some times I think we have forgotten the reason why and how this county came to be. We have matured as a nation, we have learned from our mistakes. Do not raise your children with prejudice, but a nation of one, as an American.

    November 27, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Chris from Ohio:
    Slavery is over but believe me the affects are still alive and well. While you were not a slave owner and I wasn't a slave, the African American community still suffers as a whole from the toture and break down of family that occurred due to slavery.

    November 27, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Dave, New York, NY

    Paul Najarro, you said:

    “One nation under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, anyone who doesn’t believe in this doesn’t not deserve to be here.

    I agree with your sentiment, but who are you really directing that statement toward? Is it toward the members of the Supreme Court who effectively reversed Brown V. Board of Education (the law desegregating schools) - or do you mean it toward the officials who stood passively by in New Orleans, letting thousands of Black Americans suffer for days among the dead after Katrina hit?

    Call me naive, but you surely can't mean yo think the people who are working to make good on the promise of justice *FOR ALL* are the ones who don't deserve to be here?

    November 27, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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