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Acting White

September 26th, 2007

According to the South Carolina newspaper, The State:

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 later tried to claim he hadn’t meant what he said, or said what he said, or meant what he whatever, but even from the words of the backpedal, it sounded pretty certain that he said what he said, though perhaps he regretted it later on.

I have to say that if I were Obama, I’d be pretty offended by such a sentiment; perhaps that’s what Jackson later realized, or figured other people would think.

Race should not matter. And if race should not matter, then Obama should not be held to a higher standard, to be a spokesperson and special representative for the black community (unless he volunteered and the community accepted him). I don’t recall Obama jumping up and down, saying, “Look at me, I’m black!” Everyone else seems to have been paying attention to his race, but Obama, as far as I can tell, has not made it a rallying point or anything. It’s as if a black candidate has to be “black,” noticeably so. He can’t just be a candidate, it seems.

What should matter is ethics and morality and justice–in which case any candidate who fails to speak out about the injustice of what happened in Jena is guilty of not caring; not any one of them should be more or less called upon to care or speak out.

Jackson seemed to realize this:

“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.

He did not say, “If I were a black candidate, I’d be all over Jena.” In fact, any of the Democratic candidates would do well to pay attention to that issue; it means a lot to quite a few people–aside, of course, from being an important matter unto itself.

But the whole “you’ve got to pay attention to black issues because you’re black,” that’s the kind of thing that conservatives jab Democrats for. And it’s wrong. Not because Obama didn’t go to Jena, but because any of the candidates didn’t go there.

Of course, how many of us could be expected to pay attention to racial injustice in Louisiana when O.J. is catching our attention so? If only there were some kind of organization whose members were tasked to find out relevant goings-on and, oh, I don’t know, “report” on them or something, so the people could know more about what’s actually important and not be so easily distracted. Too bad we don’t have one of those.

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  1. Judy H
    September 29th, 2007 at 00:52 | #1

    ….ethics, morality and justice?? Then you should have been all over the partisan witch hunt ending in Scooter Libby’s ridiculous conviction of a faulty memory while the Wilsons glided away in the celebrity spotlight. This is one of the biggest injustices of the decade. Should not justice apply to ALL??

  2. Luis
    September 29th, 2007 at 01:22 | #2

    Oh, yeah, I should have had such sympathy for a man who participated in illegal activities to expose an American intelligence agent (who was working to uncover actual weapons of mass destruction, not the imaginary kind) for partisan political purposes. The injustice of it all! Was it his fault that the laws were written so that you virtually had to confess in writing to get convicted of your crime, so the prosecutor had to settle for indicting him on obstruction? And poor, poor Scooter, all he did was lie under oath and obstruct an investigation that was trying to enforce our laws! Those bad, evil prosecutors who could not convict Libby for his actual crimes had the utter temerity to try him for such trifling offenses! Who doesn’t expose our intelligence agents and then lie under oath and obstruct justice these days?? I tell you!

    And poor, lamentable, victimized Scooter had to go through the indignation of a presidential pardon! Sure, he never saw the inside of a prison cell, but the idea that he might!!! What suffering!!! All while those nasty, evil Wilsons had the gall to tell the truth about the president’s lies, and then all that nasty Wilson bitch had to suffer was to lose her job and see her career and life’s work ruined! She got off too easy!


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