As serious as the controversy in Jena, La., is, there’s no reason for this.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson sharply criticized Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Tuesday over his reaction to the arrest of six black juveniles in Jena, Louisiana on murder charges, accusing the Illinois senator of “acting like he’s white,” according to a South Carolina newspaper. [...]
The State newspaper reports Jackson later said he did not recall saying Obama is “acting like he’s white,” but continued to condemn the Illinois Democrat as well as the other presidential candidates for not bringing more attention to this issue.
Jackson, who endorsed Obama earlier this year, said, “If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena…. Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment.”
As a substantive matter, I think Jackson is on firm ground imploring the country to take the Jena Six matter more seriously. It is, as I argued the other day, one of the more painful examples of racism in recent memory. Everyone -- the media, politicians, etc. -- should demonstrate a sincere interest in what’s transpired.
But “acting white”? Jackson really ought to know better.