Blacknessdefined’s Weblog

The Black Experience in America

Field Negro vs House Negro (Jesse Jackson vs Barack Obama)

Much has been made in the news about Jesse Jackson taking issue with Barack Obama talking down to the black community.  Did Barack Obama say something wrong?  Was he misguided in his thinking?  Is there a secret to the demise of the black family and the black community?  We have issues like every community.  If Barack Obama is echoing sentiments like Bill Cosby what makes it inappropriate to come from him?   Is it because he is a newcomer to the struggle?  Or does he make Jesse Jackson irrelevant?  Or does he replace Jesse as the house negro and put Jesse back in the field?


July 22, 2008 - Posted by | Black Experience


  1. There is no need to disparage one man for another. Jesse Jackson has had a role in the Black community for a long time. Barack is a relative new man on the scene. His experiences as a black man are probably not much different from Jesse’s with respect to racism. The discussion brings to mind the crab mentality. It would be sad to think that one can’t succeed without the other looking like a failure.

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 22, 2008

  2. It is my hope that Black people can change their internal thinking. What Jesse said as viewed by many was another display of a black man taking down his own. Can we possibly accept a different perspective or point of view that maybe Jesse was strategically planting a thought in America minds to separate him and others viewed like him from OBAMA in order to gain more support for OBAMA with undecided white voters. For instance, as we move closer to November’s election, there are many white voters that think that historically black leaders are only concerned with black issues; and therefore are bias in there leadership to help all Americans. If Jesse’s comments were strategically placed and positioned in such a way that it distinguishes himself from Obama while increasing white supporters, then we are pretty smart. Let’s stay focused on the prize and allow ourselves to be strategic in our methods to achieve our goal. Don’t condemn your own; believe in your own because we are smart too!!!!

    Comment by JAP | July 23, 2008

  3. I agree with you blackness defined, why is that we have to have the crabs in a bucket syndrome. We are always tearing down one another so we can gain upward mobility. I have this thing about minding your business and I think that Jesse Jackson needs to take a dose of shut the H*** up. I respect him and am thankful for all of the black leaders who fought for my rights. There fighting makes it possible for me to live my life in a liberated way.

    Why does everyone want the spot light? Let this man shine beyond his color, he is an educated man and doesn’t need for leaders in the black community to help him define his blackness.

    Comment by kiki michelle | July 23, 2008

  4. Whether strategery was involved or not, Jesse’s comments stur up the age old adage that we can not accept the success of another. It is as if Barack’s relatively quick success and acceptance by the larger community of America means Jesse had limited success. I am in no way a defender or advocate of Jesse Jackson. However his success has paved the way for Barack Obama. If Jesse had not obtained the changes in the way delegates are awarded in the Democratic primary, it is a fact that Barack Obama would not be the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. Can there be more than one voice in the Community that speaks to issues?

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 23, 2008

  5. I am in TOTAL agreement with JAP. We have to think beyond what is “portrayed” before us. JAP’s statement is something that EVERY African-American individual should read and understand. Let’s not contribute to airing dirty backlash remarks against one another over something negative said by another African-American. Jesse is strategically placed where he is for such a time as this – as allowed by God. We do not have to give life to negativity amongst ourselves but we must learn to highly esteem the positive influential African-American leaders at every given opportunity/moment.

    Comment by kilawatt | July 23, 2008

  6. Kilawatt, please point your friends to JAP’s comments. We need a vigorous dialogue amongst ourselves. Keep the comments coming.

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 24, 2008

  7. All, Mr. Jackson was and is positioned where he is with a purpose to do as he is doing and has done, regardless of negative comments made recently. He is giving Senator Obama leverage that many, unfortunately of the black race, can not comprehend how the “game” is played and won. Let’s keep in mind that most of Senator Obama’s support came from those outside of the “black race”. There were many blacks in southern states such as Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi that voted for Hillary based off of what her husband did while in office. One issue that I continually struggle with understanding is how we as african-americans say things need to change but we are the ones most defiant against it when we have the chance to make it happen. We somehow always arrive at one individual standing out for the nation of us, rather than us all coming together. Personally, I believe that the economic mindset plays a big part of our thinking, ie: “If you are willing to give, I will vote for you; if you want me to do for myself, I can’t do nothing for you.” Negative words always seem to overturn what our mouths were confess during breakthrough opportunities. Senator Obama was “designed” for this day, for this time, and for this Presidency. For those who think they can do a better job, there is a reason for them being where they are and he being where he is.

    Comment by kilawatt | July 25, 2008

  8. kilawatt touches on a sore spot. Self-reliance at times is a dirty word in the black community. Those critical of Barack Obama may have valid points, and have a right to disagree. If we are working for the same end, but disagree with the solution can we still work together? This is a unique time in American history. What will define success in a Barack Obama presidency?

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 25, 2008

  9. Again, I believe we have the potential (and beyond) to work together, but the embeddedness of walking by sight and speaking our “mind” has been a major hinderance for african-americans. If we can listen, digest, and make better informed decisions before we speak and buy into what is seen, we can be a lot further individually as well as unified. I believe one reason why we have some of us in high positions is due to other races support based on our individual integrity. Biblically put, “A house divided cannot stand”. Sadly, everyone with a different solution want to be the leader which makes it impossible to go in the same direction or even work together whole heartedly. What I believe will define success in a Barack Obama presidency is his ability of representing everyone beyond race but as human beings putting everyone on the same course for this country. I applaud Senator Obama for not sticking on individual race issues, it brings separation and accomplishes nothing. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the fight wasn’t just for “black rights” but “civil rights” for eveyone across the board (including other minorities), which is what catapulted his fight as a success.

    Comment by kilawatt | July 25, 2008

  10. when barack obama dares to represent everyone will he not be labelled a sell-out. are our concerns and issues unique that he should addressed them specifically or should he cater to the needs of all and would that address our needs?

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 25, 2008

  11. Senator Obama representing everyone is a wise decision that will not only position him further but also those whom are inclusive of “everyone”. Him being labelled a “sell-out” will only come from the african-american community, due to this is the ethnic group that generally and frequently uses such term to describe positive and affluential african-americans making an impact surpassing the “stereotypical” norms which are often acted out in music and song for the “right” price. So, to sum it up, the “sell-out” wouldn’t be him, but those african-americans who are “selling” him out (pushing him off) to other races/ethnic groups. In my humble opinion, catering to the needs of all would also require that he cater to specific concerns and issues of each ethnic group in the U.S. without being bias. No concerns or issues are more unique than any other, other than we as african-americans need to kill the “hook-up” mentality and start accepting responsibility for our actions, our homes, and what we allow to be put out in our communities. Too much apathy and not enough positive strategy.

    Comment by kilawatt | July 27, 2008

  12. Thanks Killowatt. I notice you use the term strategy. For there to be a strategy there must be an objective. What is the end game? Will Obama being the President be the ultimate achievement for the Black Community? Or is there more?

    Comment by blacknessdefined | July 28, 2008

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