July 10th, 2008
02:14 PM ET

What Jesse Jackson said

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/10/art.jessejackson.jpg]
Editor's note: Eric Easter writes about politics, culture and technology for ebonyjet.com

Eric Easter
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.


soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Donna

    There are a lot of white men not taking care of there responsibilities either.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  2. Donna

    I understand that Mr. Barack Obama was in an African American church when he was talking about MEN/fathers needing to take more responsibilities. But in listening to what you are playing of his speach that day, I heard him say "MEN" need to take more responsibility. He not say once that a BLACK MEN needs to do more. To me "MEN" means all MEN. Lets stop thinking that just because He was speaking in a black church, doesn't mean that he was only talking about black men.

    July 10, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  3. Rev. Donald B Williams

    I do not know where to start but, guess I will start with Jesse. He do not represent the blacks in America he represent the few people who still think that this country owe the black man something. We have all the opportunity that everyone else have but, we have to fight for it. What I mean about fighting is not with you fist, gun, or with just word. We need seek out grants and sources for to fund education that available to everyone regardless of race or gender. We blame the whites for keeping us down when it really ourselves that keep us down. I could not read when I was in the seven grade due to fact that I do not try hard enough and teacher who would pass me just because they knew my parents. It is not the government job to spoon feed me I had to get off of my butt and do something. Senator Obama is the type of person I respect because he believe that we need to get up everday and go to work. Sitting around waiting for hand out will never make you grow.Jackson want (just like alot of religious people) you to always be needy so that they can keep their. Jackson ,Imus, Rush, are the same big mouth want be

    July 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  4. John S

    That is somthing for Jesse to say just because he
    did not become persdent he is Sooooo Jealous of Obama
    it is sick...... For black people to act this way to other that really make use look bad.....That black hate for one or the other to get a head thay
    will try to bring them down......I don`t get it what`s worrg with use.

    But not all of use are like that I still love Obmam and we still voteing
    here in Memphis so Jesse I`ll pray for you and hope that God put
    some love in your hart.

    July 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  5. Kathy, Chicago

    If Rev. Jackson is supposed to be a man of God, I'm not going to his church, either. "Show me your friends, and I'll show you who you are". my Mom used to say . Obama has Rev. Wright and Rev. jackson as friends. Hmmm

    July 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Obama has done more for Black America than Jackson has done in his entre life. Obama urges all people to be accountable. Jackson urges African-Americans to continually be victims. Obama demonstrates strong moral character, while Jackson has a long history of adultery and even fathered an illegitimate child (Nice one, "Reverend"). Obama is calling on people to move forward and make changes in their lives to succeed. Jackson is still harping about the injustices of slavery (Its over. It has nothing to do with crime rates in African-American communities, rates of incarceration, high school drop out rates, or fatherless families.).

    Obama shows that good character is something you strive to achieve. Jackson, obviously, hasn't put in the work to develop good character.

    July 10, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Joe R.

    Oh, I see. Mr. Jackson's comments (I no longer consider him or Mr. Sharpton as Reverends) about knocking someone's nuts off would undoubtedly lead to a discussion about different medical procedures for males to avoid fathering children. Perhaps a look at how these procedures were done in the past would also be examined, including a look at eunuchs. If only Mr. Jackson made these comments at the American Medical Association's annual meeting would he have avoided the issue he is experiencing. I think I can see your point................................NOT!

    July 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Jessica

    Jesse Jackson seemingly has nothing better to do with his time than sit around and wait for someone to say or do something considered "off color". I am blown away by the lack of news coverage of him finally show HIS true colors. When Jackson comes across something that he feels is unfair or discriminatory, the papers, television and radio airways are flooded with him droning on and on about said unfair situation for weeks, sometimes months. I think it is only FAIR that he receives as much time in the spotlight for his words and actions as would be given to someone he "outs" for theirs.

    I am wondering what Jackson would do if faced with a dose of his own medicine. People should be demanding that he be fired, from whatever job it is that he does (which is...?), he should be condemned to being talked about endlessly, to being demonized in all possible media formats. HE doesn't stand for mere apologies, so why is a mere apology from him all we should accept?

    In closing, please do not let this story slip off the screen any time soon, people need to start practicing what they preach and hypocrites need to be marked as such in the most public of venues if they can not hold themselves true to their own words.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  9. anita

    I think the media is blowing this whole thing out of proportion. Yes, he made an inappropriate comment and timing and place didn't help either, but this is Rev. Jesse's true feelings. We live in a democratic society that gives us the constitutional right of "freedom of speech"! I think the Rev. and Obama has "a father-son sort of relationship." This is probably a comment the Rev. would have made in front of Obama due to the nature of the relationship we all know they have. Obama is an all nation presidential candidate and I think the Rev. understands that, and all black, white, latino etc...have come to turns with that.
    Rev. Jesse is an activist and he is the kind of man who never seems shy to speak his mind. In this case, he has apologized numerous times, he feels sorrowful and deeply regret his comments. I believe he means it. Is not like none of you has never made such a comment before. There are so many people/supporters who are talking behind Sen. Obama's back. So, we should all get over this and move on and concentrate on the issue at hand. That is, how we can elect Sen. Obama.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Pat

    Why would anyone need an enemy with Jesse Jackson as a friend and so called supporter! Like they say be careful about who you choose as a friend. His son one of the head kickers of Obama's Campaign and he made those remarks about Obama! And now this!
    Jackson like Sharpton is a trouble maker. Both love to get their face in front of a camera. Neither have any credability. And nothing they could say would surprise me!

    July 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  11. Joe

    Rev Jackson and Rev Sharpton are two racist idiots who hide behind religion to comment and put a racist twist on anything that has something to do with African American people.

    It was time for the American people (regardless of the color) to see who they really are. It is easy for them to get on TV and blast others, but don't do it to them cause it is wrong.

    Both should be banned from TV and Radio.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  12. Scott

    Jackson is the same as all that have notoriety, fame and wealth without the proper moral fiber. This is not the first time or the last this scumbag has been caught, it won't be the last. This just goes to show how they are one way in the public eye and behind close doors totally different. Black, white, red, yellow, or brown people are people good or bad. I hope that no one is under the delusion that this is an iscolated case. This type of perons and behavior is what is destroying our society today. There are no hero's anymore. Bring on Ron Paul! A man beyond reproach.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  13. Larry

    Its sad to think of how we neglect the affect of Rev. Jackson's comments will play out on Sen. Obama's wife and children, now and in the future, as we are living in a historic time that will be recorded for and read by future generations of americans and the world.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Karen

    Why the double standard? It is ok for Jessie Jackson to make such a degrading remark about Obama, but when Don Imus made a totally irresponsible remark he was crucified. Where is the fairness? I am sick of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, these two men create a lot of racial tension because of their words and actions. I am a fifty year old woman, I did not cause the problems of African Americans, and I am tired of hearing how blacks are mistreated in this country. I voted for Hillary in the primary election. Then, I was undecided how I was going to vote in the general election. Now, I think I will vote for McCain because I am sick of hearing about all this racial crap.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Berto

    I don't think Jacksons or Sharptons actions or words help the black community. As long as they create a controversial atmosphere regarding blacks they will make money. It is in Jacksons and Sharptons best interest to keep blacks in a deprived state of mind as social outcasts hated by the world.

    The reality is that they (Jackson and Sharpton) are stupid and say bad things about black (Obama) people because they have so much hate in their heart and can't stand that whites and other races like Obama. This is not a perfect world, but they are not helping any situation on any side! I guess to be a real Black person you must hate everyone...??Right Jackson!

    July 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  16. Devon

    Mr Jackson don`t need to talk about Obama because he has his own
    to dill with Obama cares about all of use and it takes one black
    person to make all blacks look bad......The world is strugling trying to
    feed there childen and keep a place to stay pepole are losing there
    homes, cars and jobs all because of Bush and now we have to suffer.

    I hope things get better soon because the rich ant giving nathing to
    poor pepole and the govrment ant giving nathing ethere thay say it`s
    free money for grants but you have to get approved by that or you don`t
    get the money that`s sad and i know no one well vote for Mc Cain
    i don`t even have to tell you why......So thay want to about Obama hes
    a good guy and if thay were smart thay well VOTE OBAMA.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  17. Joyce Spies- Wilmington, Ohio

    Rev. Jessie has no business calling himself Rev.! Rev.'s do not act or talk that way.It's not leadership like his that people need.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  18. Susan

    I am so tired of ‘famous’ people saying things they should not even be thinking and then 2.35 seconds later getting on their high horses and apologizing and saying they didn’t mean it! Give me a freakin’ break! The only reason they apologize is because they were ‘overheard’ by someone. That type of apology is meaningless.
    Wasn't Jackson one of the vocal up right never do wrong people who blasted Imus a little bit ago?
    Obama has way more class than Jackson will ever have. Jackson is a person who NEEDS to be controversial otherwise people will just forget him. And to me, that sounds like something I would love to do!

    Oh I’m sorry………who were we talking about again? 🙂

    July 10, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  19. Saad, Ramsey, NJ

    My blood used to boil whenever I heard this guy open his mouth. Then I realized one day that it is not him. It's actually my fellow Americans, smart but naive let him open his mouth by virtue of the fact they listen to him. I also realized that it is the media who let's him speak by virtue of giving him time on the air. Ever since, my blood stopped boiling.

    Unfortunate fact is that this guy could have taken advantage of media time and people listening to him instead of proving that he is like garbage who could not handle fame.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  20. Joe, Summerfield, NC

    Jesse Jackson should be forced to step down as the head of the Rainbow Push Collation, Rev. Jackson is a RACIST!!!! He is the first to attack others when comments are made that HE thinks are inappropriate. Other black leaders and the media should request that he step down from the Rainbow Push Collation, don’t allow him to get a free pass.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  21. beverly R.

    I agree that Jesse's comments were wrong. I also agree that he could be jealous because of the inspiration and enthusiasm that Barrack has brought to this country. In the past, we as black americans have acted like crabs in a bucket. When one gets up, the others try to bring him back down. This is one of those times! Stop hating Jesse! At the same time, Jesse has done a lot for the black community that has attributed to growth. If we didn't march and boycott we would not have the leverage that we have now! So thank you Jesse for that! Now sit down and shut up unless you have something positive to say about Barrack Obama!

    July 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  22. Terry

    Wow! It amazes me how these supposed "Men Of The Cloth" talk and behave when they think we can't hear them!

    July 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  23. Ken Barnes

    Jesse Jackson needs to leave politics and civil rights altogether!! He does not speak for me and never has. His day in the sun is over and he looks like a petty 12 year old talking behind someone’s back. If he had a legitimate issue with how Obama addresses segments of America, could not he have discussed this with him "directly"? How cowardly! There is NO way what he said was taken out of context or could be accepted in another venue.

    Personally I cannot think of one thing that Jesse Jackson has done to benefit me or anyone. Obama is trying to benefit “all” Americans by running for president and Jesse Jackson is thinking only about himself and his jealous hearted agendas. Jesse is no more than a con man who is trying to keep his meal ticket around swindling Afican Americans out there money. And how stupid does he think people are you cannot say you support Obama’s campaign and say things behind his back. If I was FOX news I would promote the guy who left the mic on and helped let the world see the truth about this guy.

    Some Reverend he is.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  24. pat/new orleans

    When ambulance chasers open there mouths the SIREN goes off.
    Sirens prouduce loud noises to get your undivided attention.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  25. Pat47

    In all fairness to Rev. Sharpton, he said on his radio show today that he did not agree with what was said by Rev. Jackson nor did he understand Jackson's need to make such comments. Rev Sharpton solidly supports Obama and stated that.

    This is Rev. Jackson's mess, let him be in it by himself.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  26. Tee

    I certainly hope that one day media outlets will see the damage they continue to do by using the term "black leaders." Yes – there are lots of influencial black people with leadership attributes, but when those two words are used, most of the time they are taken to mean "black leaders for all black people."

    I'm black, but don't be shocked when I tell you, Jesse Jackson is no leader of mine. Contrary to what many people think, there are other black people like myself that appreciate Jackson's contributions during the Civil Rights Movements and the good things that he's done when he wasn't fighting for the spotlight for his own personal gain, but now, he should concentrate on cutting his exposure rather than cutting off anyone's nuts.

    The fact that he had anything negative to say regarding Barack Obama's comments about personal responsibility should send out red flags to the ineffectiveness of Jackson as a leader today. I just don't get it – the media fills our ears with bad statistics regarding black households and when someone makes comments urging people to take responsibility for what goes on in black communities, there's an uproar? I guess now the only thing we've learned is that Bill Cosby can't say it and neither can Barack Obama. Then, somebody please tell me who can?

    July 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
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