Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst
Last week while in Martha’s Vineyard, we had some major technical issues that knocked WVON-AM/Chicago off the air. I was just talking and talking until we were notified that we were not broadcasting.
So instead of talking for three hours for the online audience, I chose to play Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s 1988 speech at the Democratic National Convention.
In a truly mesmerizing speech that still make tears well up in my eyes, Jackson spoke to the pain and success of his supporters and the nation, but also offered some critical words that explained why the name of the first African American to run all primary races should go into nomination.
“As a testament to the struggles of those who have gone before; as a legacy for those who will come after; as a tribute to the endurance, the patience, the courage of our forefathers and mothers; as an assurance that their prayers are being answered, that their work has not been in vain, and, that hope is eternal, tomorrow night my name will go into nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America,” he said to rousing applause.
Editor of Racialicious.com
If calling an entire group of people the n-word isn't talking down to blacks, I don't know what is.
While the term may be used casually by some members of my community, Jesse Jackson has made his career of challenging racial stereotypes and denouncing those in the public eye who have used the word – including being at the forefront of the protests involving Michael Richards and Don Imus. It is a rather strange twist that "n*****s" rolled off his lips so casually – particularly in a news room setting. FULL POST
President, Center for the Advancement of Women
There is a lengthy legacy of politician striking the wrong tone on the role of African-American men in the family. There tends to be more you-shoulds and not enough I-wills. The question remains whether politicians have the will to change the paradigm by which black men are viewed (or not) and judged. Save the unnecessary vulgar references to presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson’s “off-the-mike” comments Wednesday weren’t so off-the-mark.
Rather than attacking only the personal responsibility of African-American fathers, it is essential to continue to address the systemic changes needed to eliminate the conditions sustaining the epidemic of absentee fathers, which isn’t exclusively a “black” phenomenon.
Sure, Jesse is an old fool who doesn't know how to act. But his latest gaffe shows how none of us is really ready for this moment.
On one level, it is easy to dismiss the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.'s crudely worded metaphorical threat to castrate Barack Obama for supposedly talking down to black people as the raving of an increasingly irrelevant, former big shot suffused with resentment at the rising star who pushed him off stage.
That, after all, is the sort of talk we'd expect from a lynch mob, not a civil rights leader who does not seem to realize that the times have passed him by. Even his son and namesake, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., agrees that his dad is doing more harm these days than good. Pronouncing himself outraged and disappointed by his father's ugly words about Obama, Jackson Jr. issued a statement that, in effect, ordered dear old dad to "keep hope alive" and shut up.
Editor's note: Eric Easter writes about politics, culture and technology for ebonyjet.com
Chief of Digital Strategy for Johnson Publishing
Jesse Jackson made a mistake and he has appropriately apologized. His language was unnecessary, his timing off and the venue (Fox News of all places) gave the comment an illegitimate quality that marred the underlying point Jackson was making, though the castration analogy didn’t exactly help either. It’s all about context. In another setting, stated another way to a different group of people, his comment could have had the power to begin a dialogue to address some of the concerns about Obama’s appeal to mainstream voters and what that means.
But of course, it’s not just what you say, it’s where, how, when and to whom that matter as well. He learned a lesson. But according to quite a number of prominent black activists who are strong Obama supporters but “lovingly critical”, Obama should learn a lesson about what he says and to whom as well.
Far from some sign of a rift between Jackson and Obama, what Jackson said was repeated many times in various forms at the recent Rainbow PUSH Coalition by many thoughtful Black activists who, while supportive of Obama, also choose to be “lovingly critical” to ensure that Obama lives up to the promise he presents.
Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst
There have been two constants in this presidential campaign: Sen. Barack Obama will openly discuss his faith and present some of today’s most troublesome issues through a moral prism. And the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. will say something outlandish and stupid that he will have to apologize for.
First, he told a reporter in South Carolina last year that Obama was “acting white” in his response to the issues in Jena, Louisiana. Then the good Rev wrote an op-ed piece proclaiming that then-Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was the only one speaking to issues of importance to African Americans.
Now, in his most vile and pathetic comments yet, Jackson was overhead telling a fellow panelist prior to an interview on Fox that he was going to cut Obama’s “nuts off” for his speeches on morality and fatherhood in the black community.
Carmen Van Kerckhove
President, New Demographic, a consulting firm that addresses race and racism
Watching news coverage of Jesse Jackson’s remarks about Barack Obama “talking down to black people” reminded me of a conversation I had in 2000.
I was chatting over lunch with a couple of co-workers about celebrity gossip, and the conversation turned to Halle Berry's multiracial identity. My co-workers scoffed at the idea that a person could identify as biracial, declaring: "When it comes down to it, you know what side Halle's on."
At the time I wondered to myself: When it comes down to what? The inevitable great race war? Will we all have to pick a side once and for all and declare our racial allegiance?
Almost lost in the uproar over a somewhat obscene whisper – did the Rev. Jesse Jackson tap into a feeling among African-Americans that Sen. Barack Obama is talking down to them with his emphasis on faith-based initiatives, and his calling on the black community to pick itself up?
By the way, do Obama's inspirational urgings to African Americans bear more diplomatic traces of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's self-help message to parishioners?
In any case, Obama's efforts to inspire African-Americans are different from the message of civil rights leaders like Jackson. And that's why there's tension here. Jessica Yellin will report on that for us tonight. What's your take?
The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized Wednesday for "crude and hurtful" remarks he made about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama after an interview with a Fox News correspondent.
The remarks came Sunday as Jackson was talking to a fellow interviewee, UnitedHealth Group executive Dr. Reed V. Tuckson. An open microphone picked up Jackson whispering, "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off."
This morning Rev. Jackson explained his comments:
AC360° talked with David Gergen, The Reverend Al Sharpton, and Amy Holmes to dig deeper on the story:
Dr. Ronald Walters
Originally posted 7/9/2008
Just back from the Rainbow Push convention in Chicago sponsored by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., I was struck by the fact that neither Barack nor Michelle Obama showed up and they live virtually right down the street.
The symbol of Obama's absence was made even more vivid to me because he was out making nice with Hillary Clinton to knit together a unified campaign in the fall.
I understand that, but I also understand that he could have showed up, when Governor Bill Richardson, who lives in New Mexico not only showed up, but gave a rousing speech crediting the civil rights movement for much of the political success of the Hispanic community and his own.
I know, I know, it is common knowledge now that Barack Obama has to distance himself from Black radicals, from his church, and much of his community in order to make White voters comfortable enough with him to trust him and then give him their votes. FULL POST
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