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Is Jesse Jackson irrelevant?
What a vulgar remark about Barack Obama says about race and civil rights in America.
 

Jesse Jackson can’t see that time has passed him by, said The Dallas Morning News in an editorial. The civil rights leader whispered over a hot Fox News microphone that Barack Obama talked down to black people, and that he wanted to cut off the Democratic presidential candidate’s nuts. The problem, you see, is that Obama urges black Americans to “embrace an ethic of personal responsibility,” and that conflicts with Jackson’s “image of black Americans as perpetually aggrieved and victimized.”

Jackson’s style of civil rights is “pathetically irrelevant,” said Heather Mac Donald in National Review Online. “The fact is, the only thing that can stop the lethal anarchy in poor black neighborhoods is personal responsibility, starting with the duty of men to raise the children that they sire.”

A lot of people have problems with Jackson, said Patrick Healy in The New York Times, which is precisely why his gaffe might boost Obama’s appeal “with white voters who have questions about whether Obama shares their values, and with black voters who see Jackson as a figure of the past.”

There are plenty of people who share Jackson's uneasiness with Obama’s approach to race, said Kelly Brewington and Tanika White in The Baltimore Sun. Other civil rights stalwarts thought Jackson’s remark—for which he delivered an apology that Obama accepted—was “vulgar and offensive,” but they, too, are critical of what they see as the downplaying of the nation’s lingering racial problems by the first African American to be nominated for president by a major party.

 

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