Jackson, Obama, and Mainstream Media

21 09 2007

Since Sen. Obama decided to run for President, he has had to face criticism for his presumed lack of support among African-Americans. And now even after endorsements from Oprah Winfrey to Talib Kweli to Dr. Cornell West, and many more, but the mainstream media still wants to revive this narrative of Obama not being black enough. Case in point, media reports about Rev. Jackson saying Obama is “acting white” about not speaking out enough about the Jena 6 injustice. This is utterly ridiculous.

First of all, its a diversion from the real issue, which is the obvious case of a miscarriage of justice in the criminal justice system, particularly the massive protests in Jena, LA. Secondly, it assumes that if African-American leaders or black folk generally criticize each there must be some unbridgeable division among them. And thirdly, Jesse Jackson has repeatedly emphasized his support for Obama and called such reports of him questioning the Senator’s blackness outright false.

In fact, Jackson was quoted in the Chicago-Sun Times as saying:

“I don’t associate myself with that statement, that’s not my position,” Jackson said. “… I’m dumbfounded by this story. … Black enough, white enough, this argument is an absurd one.” Obama, he said, “does not have to jump through hoops to prove his ethnicity.”

As the campaign season intensifies the mainstream media will look for other ways to revive this narrative of Obama struggling to garner black support, particularly if he loses or narrowly wins in primary states with sizable black voters.

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