We already know Barack Obama has a castrating wife and the pain of public observation grew even more extreme as Jesse Jackson recently accused Barack Obama of “acting White.”

Now we must wonder if being born into Black skin is enough to be considered “Black” in America — or does the droplet still triumph in the polling place?

Or is there a behavior and an attitude that must be sustained in order to carry out the wishes, dreams and hopes of the “Black” experience that defines a man beyond the blood?


The repercussions of Jackson’s claim are enthralling as an example of political ambition and blind savvy in the making of the namesake:

Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson
said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on
attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in
Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

“If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said after an
hour-long speech at Columbia’s historically black Benedict College.
“Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,”
said the iconic civil rights figure, who worked with Martin Luther King
Jr. in the 1965 Selma civil rights movement and was with King at his
1968 assassination.
Later, Jackson said he did not recall making the “acting like he’s
white” comment about Obama, stressing he only wanted to point out the
candidates had not seized on an opportunity to highlight the
disproportionate criminal punishments black youths too often face.

Does anyone smell a setup?
One wonders if Jackson’s breathless accusation of Obama “Acting White”
actually helps Obama win White Southern Male votes instead of losing
them in a general election because — one could argue, based on
Jackson’s claim — “while Obama’s skin is dark, he’s really White on
the inside.”

Is Jessee Jackson’s accusation a valid one expressed as a public
admonition?
Or is Jackson cunningly helping promote Obama as a “safer” candidate by
separating him from the mainstream “Black” ghetto mentality and thus making him more palatable for White voters to swallow in the future?
Will White voters be more comfortable casting a vote for a Black Man who, according to Jesse Jackson, is really White Like Them?

Is
it helpful or hurtful to Obama if Jesse Jackson publicly disowns him
and, in the process, frees Southern voters to, perhaps, see Obama as
“half Black, but not all that bad.”

30 Comments

  1. He won’t lose Black support though, will he? As crass as it sounds — where else will they go? He has the Black community behind him no matter what so trying to “Act White” might be a good ploy to get White votes and when the accusation comes from a Black Leader… welp… it just seems wholly convenient and convincing…

  2. What the hell is “acting white” supposed to mean? What stereotypical white behavior is the founder of the so-called Rainbow Coalition referring to so dismissively? And if a white power-broker accused a white candidate of “acting like he’s black,” wouldn’t Jesse Jackson (and his buddy Al Sharpton) be in the front row of the lynch mob calling for his disembowelment?
    I’m so confused.
    The double standard on racism is weighing us down. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, yet his most intimate followers — including Jesse Jackson — seem more obsessed with the color of a man’s skin than the content of his character. If Jesse Jackson (and many, many other black leaders) cannot live up to King’s standard, can they truly expect other races to do it?
    I won’t waste any more of your bandwidth. I blogged more fully about this at Under the News

  3. Hi Ron!
    Thanks for your fine and spirited comment!
    It seems to be all magical — “Look over here, while I vote over there!” — and we certainly feel ripped off and disinclined to participate in a political process that is so shallow and cynical.

  4. Jesse Jackson has been a shameless race-baiter for so long that he can’t see the utter hypocrisy of denouncing racism while being such a blatant racist himself.
    What I don’t understand is why anyone thinks the good Reverend is still relevant (of course I’ve wondered that for a while…I’m a member of predominantly black family and I’ve always been curious about who anointed him a “black leader” [as the media so often refers to him].)
    I’ve also wondered why some people (like Jackson) think that black people share some kind of hive mind…there are a plethora (a veritable rainbow, if you will, Reverend Jackson) of points of view among black folks just like their are among any other kind of folks.
    I’m not an Obama supporter (I’ve yet to be moved to sign on to ANY of the candidates…but I’ve still got time to sift through the choices so I’m not sweating that) but for my money being denounced by Jesse Jackson is a definite plus.

  5. Wowser! What a powerful comment, Michael, thanks!
    I think Jackson anointed himself as a leader when he wiped MLK’s blood on his shirt after the man was shot. Wasn’t that his first claim to fame as the next leader of the Black Movement in America?
    The minority mindset requires “hive thinking” by default in the mind of the leaders in order to control the order and the agenda. To break apart as a minority force is to lose any power whatsoever and so they keep everyone in line and on the same page by threatening to shun them from the benefits of power and condescension if they do not play along with a certain and narrow political agenda.
    I don’t know if I’m an Obama supporter or not. His wife seems overly power-hungry — as does Fred Thompson’s — and that is a mighty turn-off for me as a prospective supporter.
    I agree being on the wrong side of Jesse helps Obama a lot — and that’s why I argue today it was all pre-planned outrage to help Obama in a general election as Hillary’s second mate.

  6. HC was quite the power hungry person when Clinton was running for office but that didn’t change the fact that he did a tremendous amount of good for the country including turning what was a budget deficit into a budget surplus in a time when nobody thought it was possible. I really believe Senator Obama can do it and I certainly am not looking at the candidates in terms of race – to me it’s a matter of how good they would be for the country. I really think he is the best candidate out there right now. 🙂

  7. Gordon —
    Excellent point! If there’s one thing about the Rev. Jackson it is that he is smart politically and he knows how to fill a power vacuum. He made himself the Chosen One merely because of proximity to a tragedy and not by the plan of a greater mortal man.

  8. I can tell you what Jesse Jackson meant by saying Barack Obama “is acting like he’s white”. That’s what some black people say when other black people are accepted by a lot of white people, whereas the complainers have not been, although they have tried … and tried. They may have been raised to subjugate themselves to any white person and will do that subconsciously no matter what. They may even have a fairly decent salary or be college educated. Many ghetto people will break their necks to inform anyone that it is so good and so beneficial to be a poor, uneducated, illiterate, ignorant, violent-tendencied black person, because that is really being “black”. They love to believe that they are just as good as anyone, while they do criminal activity and don’t respect truth or anything else. One of their favorite things to say is that not everyone in the ghetto is bad. Everyone knows that, so their saying so is just so irrelevant. They are secret racists and purport otherwise. They want “in” and can’t figure out how to get there. They hate the way some black professionals are able to easily communicate with people of any race, while they suffer with discomfort at their own efforts. If Barack Obama stepped to the microphone and started speaking substandard English, while rolling his eyes as the closest white person in sight, then they would congratulate him and say that he is “acting like he’s black”. As being both black and white myself, methinks some of the ease is from being around both cultures from day one. The complainers are just jealous.

  9. I haven’t really looked at the Jena issue so much but Obama acting white he has too. I am not saying that it is right but that is just how the US is you have to have the white values if you want to make it. Look at Condolezza Rice (spelling??? Sorry), yes she is black but she also was a pianist at one time, traditionally who were the musicians? It was white males. So, until white males no longer have the power, minorities will have to conform to white values. I am not saying this is right at all because as the U.S. being the melting-pot of the world we are like oil and water.

  10. You see it if you look in the right areas. Look at a black person that was raised by a white family. They have the white family values. They don’t have the black person values. So when they go out and people start treating them different because they are black, they don’t understand. If you want me to I can pull out the stages of Identity?

  11. Hi Stacie —
    Yes, reading some scientific evidence of your claim that Black children living with White families have “White Family values” instead of, I guess, “ghetto values,” if I am correctly understanding your argument.
    As well, it would be beneficial to also demonstrate the necessary opposite of what you claim: White children raised by Black families using “ghetto values” as life markers for behavior and expectation.

  12. it doesn’t have to do anything with being in the ghetto, is not true that most black people in the US have African Heritage. Africans have different values the Europeans. because that is what the US is founded on is the European values. so it has nothing to do with living living in the ghetto. There are several black people that do not live in the ghetto and still have black value.

  13. Stacie —
    Can you cite the scholarly source that indicates most Blacks in the United States do not have an African heritage?
    I’m having difficulty understanding the disconnect you are arguing between nationality, culture, values and Race.
    Do you believe people are born into cultural values and societal memes or not? If so, are they able to ever change those core values or not?

  14. I took a Multiculturalism class under a man who has his Doctorite in Muliticulturalism and Religion. He is a very intellegent has put a connect between cultural, society, values. It sounds to me that you don’t know your own Identity are in society, what your values are, or the culture you come from are. So until you do I don’t think we will see eye to eye on this subject. Dr. Sutha Veerasamy taught me all I know because i was once naive like you, but know i see how miniorites are treated are unequal and what will it take for equality to come about.

  15. I think you need to retake that class, Stacie, because everything you have been trying to argue here makes no sense whatsoever and the name of your instructor brings up a zero return on Google:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Dr.+Sutha+Veerasamy
    We also don’t allow false accusations in this forum and we have given you every opportunity to undig yourself from your unfortunate views yet you have miserably failed. You never produced an ounce of scholarly evidence for what you argued.
    We thank you for the ongoing expression of your views, but we are now through entertaining you.

  16. It’s unfortunate that there are too many black people that don’t want to understand the American culture as it is. There are class levels just like any other group or country. They refuse to acknowledge that. That’s why black people can’t find a unifying factor across the class levels.
    For the most part, the black lower class refuses education in a normal sense (school is a dangerous place) and as a result, have lowly finances.
    They really do believe they are racially inferior, although they say otherwise. But they hate believing that, so they get hostile towards others. Many of them generally hate other black people that are mixed race or who are not dark brown skinned.
    It can get real complicated about the complexion thing because some of them have ancestors that were rural, uneducated, ill-behaved white slave masters. There is an old saying amongst the lower class black people that such lighter-skinned persons “act worse” than other black people (but not “acting white”). They don’t know much about DNA and how some things, such as personality and behavior, are inherited.
    Contrary to all the things they say, they are actually waiting for white men to validate them and are totally irked that someone like Barack Obama has apparently aced it, in their opinion. To them, he must be doing something that they don’t know about, that they must have somehow missed, so to bring it out, they are going to accuse him of “acting white”.

  17. That’s a fascinating comment, Lena, and I am reminded of what Al Sharpton said during the Imus/Rutgers scandal: “Black people have a feeling that, deep down, Whites don’t really like them.”
    http://urbansemiotic.com/?s=imus+rutgers
    If what Sharpton claims is true — that American Blacks are waiting to find out how much they are not like by White America no matter what happens — how, then can we ever begin to heal and trust each other on equal terms as human beings?

  18. There won’t be any, David. Al Sharpton jumped up and down so much about Imus. That’s only because some “important” white men complained first. Sharpton has heard far worse racist name-calling that was unprovoked and only joined in with seedy statements and giggles. Because some “important” white men were the harassers. Absolutely no defense from the great and glorious reverend Sharpton.
    There was a slave indoctrination that called for black people to distrust one another. The foundation for it was already there, due to the disunified state of Africans in Africa. To this very day, most black people don’t trust each other.
    There’s some real outrageous racist treatment that lots of people don’t see happen. Since America’s laws changed, there are quite a few white men that would be too ashamed to file a complaint against a black woman for decking him in public because that was her response to his uncalled for attention and showing of racism. That doesn’t happen as often as it used to, say like in the 60’s. In the newspapers then, such black women were referred to as “hellcats” and such and were tossed in jail.
    There will never be healing either. Because racist old white men live very long. That’s an old regime of racists and even if they don’t pass down their teachings, there will always be those who have been convinced that they must do the racism thing or else they will be taken over by black people. How that’s supposed to happen, I don’t know. I won’t even mention that group that should be declared illegal, but supposedly has first amendment rights. You know, the one that people are encouraged to be so “scared” of. I’ll bet that if there was a black organization that had a history of tremendous violence, then no redemption brownie points would be given for them to have validity or first amendment rights.
    It’s a shame but true that there ought to be a school called “Black Men USA” where young black men are taught to be real men. The few black men that are real men can be the teachers.
    The Jena situation is not good. It apparently was just a little fight that boys of any race will have from time to time. I saw a picture of the boy that was beaten. It wasn’t a life-threatening injury and it was reported that he just got up off the hospital bed and went about his business. In that southern town, if it had been white boys that beat up a black boy, then the “authorities” probably would not have arrested anybody, but would have told the black boy to go file a private criminal complaint.
    Much of the south is still living in a racist mentality and they wish things are now as they used to be. The young people haven’t seen the type of racist displays that happened years ago. So the “authorities” want to show the people of America an example, hoping to scare other black boys away from defending themselves or picking fights with white boys.
    As long as there’s a lot of people that think they are naturally superior to others because of race (all races have done that) then things can never change. Maybe it’s like that so that the world will never become just one race, if people get too chummy!
    There won’t be an understanding either. Did you know that most black people don’t like the National Anthem? The singers just sing it because they think they sing it better than a white singer.
    If all people would view people of other races with understanding and respect, then maybe, just maybe, in the future history of American, there can be that equality of trust. But how is that supposed to happen when Americans are so competitive?