OPINION/POLITICS

Hypocrite, Thy Name Is Jesse

I promised myself that I would give Jesse Jackson a break. I didn’t want anyone to misunderstand and think that I had an axe to grind or it was personal. It isn’t. I’m just a truth teller.

In the last two weeks, Jackson made national headlines disgracing himself. He didn’t need my help. He has single handedly eroded his tainted legacy with his crude comments about wanting to surgically remove Sen. Obama’s lower anatomy. Now there is the newly revealed news that Jesse also had the audacity to use the N-word!

A reputable source received a partial transcript of the rest of Jackson’s comments on Fox News and confirmed the transcript was authentic. That’s right, Jesse called black people niggers! This is a huge issue for me because I was there when Jesse came to Los Angeles on November 26, 2006 and held a press conference denouncing comedian Michael Richards, AKA Kramer of Seinfeld fame. Jesse insisted that the word not be used publicly or privately due its offensive nature.

In fact, Jackson called for a boycott of all entertainment media that used the word. Jesse used the incident with Richards to call on the entertainment industry to ban the n-word, including rap artists that use it in the lyrics, actors and major television and movie studios. This campaign was felt in cities around the country, with the New York City Council agreeing to ban it.

Jesse’s press conference in Los Angeles was attended by every major Black leader and organization in the city. He stated: “We will challenge and urge all artists and comics to stop using this (N) word. What other group is subjected to such a degrading terminology?” As Jesse spoke, I agreed with everything he said. As a Muslim, I call Black people either brother or sister in public and privately. In fact, my friends have made the mistake of calling me the N-word as a term of endearment or just using it in my presence. A quick friendly glare and disapproving look quickly corrects them.

As an activist, my group has lead high profile campaigns against the use of the N-word, ranging from protests of gangster rappers to foul mouthed comedians. Even Aaron McGruder (creator of “The Boondocks”), who I respect and love, didn’t escape my criticism.

Which brings me to the question of hypocrisy. We believe it’s very hypocritical for Jackson to have tried to get rappers such as Nas, the entertainment industry and the general public to ban and not use a word that he utilizes himself. Jackson’s already apologized to Obama, but since he wasn’t the target of Jackson’s slur, Jackson should immediately apologize to Blacks for not only berating them, but also apologize for his hypocrisy. I’m realistic. Just because the NAACP symbolically buried the N-word doesn’t mean its dead. In fact, you can hear it all the time with a younger generation whose use of it has a different meaning according to those that use it.

Jesse has no excuse. Anytime you voluntarily advocate on an issue or cause, you can’t engage in what you are advocating against. When former President Bill Clinton received spiritual counseling from Jackson in the middle of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in an attempt to repair his troubled marriage, Jesse was in the middle of his affair and had a child hidden away that the majority of the world was unaware of.

This is the pure definitely of hypocrisy! Jesse has a long history of it. His use of the N-word and his do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do attitude is just one more chapter in the sad story of a fallen leader.

Najee Ali is Executive Director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E, a national civil rights organization that advocates for the human rights of oppressed people regardless of race, gender or religion. He was selected by Wave Newspapers and Our Weekly Newspaper as one of the 25 most influential black leaders in Los Angeles. More information is available at: www.islamichope.org.


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July 20th, 2008 at 10:11 pm RedRazor says:

#1

July 20th, 2008 at 10:19 pm RedRazor says:

Where does Jesse go from here? I’m not sure black folks care what he has to say anymore.

July 20th, 2008 at 10:41 pm MissReina says:

This debate will never be solved. It is up for every individual to decide for themself. I think it is a private decision best left to people’s own opinion.

July 20th, 2008 at 10:41 pm MissReina says:

As for Jesse, he is dispicable.

July 21st, 2008 at 8:26 am Najee Ali says:

@RedRazor @I co-sign with you Im burned out with J.J.I dont care what he says now. Im not writing nothing else about this guy.Im more interested with the
N-word controversy, I dont use it but if you do. Why?? (:

July 21st, 2008 at 9:00 am Dwight Taylor says:

Najee, you’re absolutely right. Mr. Jackson is doing a very good job of destroying his own qualifications as a leader.

For Mr. Jackson to tell someone not to use the N-word and then to use it himself is as bad a father telling his son not to hang around gang members and the father is a member of a gang himself.

July 21st, 2008 at 9:11 am Jedi Mind says:

Exposing his lack of real care for the community has been a long time coming - I’m glad his days are finally numbered

July 21st, 2008 at 9:19 am Lottie Markus says:

He has never been the voice for us. HE has been the WHITE people idea of a voice for us. That’s it.

July 21st, 2008 at 9:31 am thelma says:

Jesse is getting his just due for sure… and I love that he hung himself! No one else to blame

July 21st, 2008 at 9:34 am Allison says:

This is so sad. It seems like most leaders have the do what I say not as I do syndrome.

July 21st, 2008 at 9:42 am teradise says:

He is so wack…why and how is he always supposedly representing us!??Please Jesse, don’t speak for me! Is there a way we can just publicly dis own him?? GEEEEZZZZZ!!!!

July 21st, 2008 at 9:44 am culturepop says:

I don’t think we can ever bury the word. But I do think that it is still as hurtful today as it was when it was in offical rotation back in the day. The fact that we call each other that is just proof that they have won. They succeeded in making us turn it against each other and that’s a shame. Jesse, you are a fraud and its great timing that you are on your way out as a true leader named Barack is on his way in

July 21st, 2008 at 10:02 am hisherness says:

@Mr Ali i don’t use the n-word, either; nor do i allow it to be used to address or refer to me. neither do i permit b*tch (or “dawg”, or any other canine derivative), which seems to have become another dubious term of affection.

on a related note, i wonder about the tendency of people to call each other Brother and Sister. is this a religious habit? is it related to Islam in some way? is it restricted to Islam? does it require a certain ethnicity, religion, or degree of familiarity to receive this endearment? …
i find that when someone calls me “sister” who is not, in fact, my sibling (and when i inevitably correct them by pointing out this fact), the person generally becomes offended. why is that, do you suppose? i’m curious.

i try to be respectful of religions (although i’ve no intention of changing my views to be more comfortable for theists), but it’s hard ot understand them, hard to understand what behaviors belong to the religion and how; to be honest, the religion i find easiest to “get”, of those currently popular, is Judaism. could you explain, if you have a moment, this brother/sister matter?

July 21st, 2008 at 10:06 am lolalove says:

I had forgot about that kramer thing - argh this man is on my nerves

July 21st, 2008 at 10:32 am ain'tmad says:

—-According to the RainbowPUSH website, JJ will be recognized during its upcoming annual conference for the 20th anniversary of JJ’s second run to be president. Do you suppose that there will be official conference discussion about the always sensitive [snicker] and professional [snork] JJ being on Fixed News using the n-word and why JJ thinks Obama needs castration for JJ’s perception that Obama talks down to blacks?
—-According to JJ’s RainbowPUSH, the 20th anniversary “celebration” will be an event whereby “On this day, we will reach back as far as we can go,” Rev. Jackson said as he and Rainbow PUSH Coalition officials looked forward to seeing some of the old political warriors, whom he describes as the “roots” of the movement. “because “(m)ost of today’s young politicians don’t know these people,” he said. “Many of them who started with us are aging and they are not here, but their children and their political offspring are active.”
—-I’m thinking that JJ ain’t slick: Obama did not get permission from JJ and/or the Chicago AA old guard to run for president and JJ plans to slap Obama in the face with visible, tangible historic reminders that Obama did not come up through the struggle and the movement. JJ is planning to demonstrate that Obama ain’t even black enough to be running for president as a black man.
—-Even more significant, this charade is planned before the August Democratic Party convention and is certain to garner plenty of MSM coverage for JJ.

July 21st, 2008 at 10:39 am Yoni says:

@hisherness - black folks calling each other brother and sister goes back to the civil rights days and beyond. since our families were separated and sold - using the term of enderment of brother or sister just served to keep us connected and treat each other as family. the concept being that we may not be blood, but we are still ONE despite their best efforts to divide us! Its a powerful symbol

July 21st, 2008 at 11:09 am ain'tmad says:

@hisherness, from the Christian perspective, we are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. At the very beginning of Christianity, when small group congregations met in people’s houses, the Christian experience was communal and close, much like family.

July 21st, 2008 at 11:58 am Jordan Hunter says:

Hypocrisy is a nail in the coffin for JJ.

July 21st, 2008 at 11:58 am Najee Ali says:

@ everybody im done with JJ.. (:
@hisherness, All the Muslims that I have ever met even from other countrys say the term.And the early nation of Islam used it.When you watch the movie Malcolm X again thats what you hear a lot Brother Macolm this, Brother Malcolm that.. The civil rights movement helped advance it out of the religious movement into the mainstream
and i grew up in Gary ind. Which is a nearly all black city. so its a term we all heard & used growing up in the 60,&70’s. Which is why the use of the N-word puzzles me?? and Im hoping some of these youngs folks can break down for this old head (:

July 21st, 2008 at 1:04 pm Deborah says:

Najee, thanks for the politeness of your blog.

July 21st, 2008 at 2:35 pm heatmizer says:

Since his adultry and out of wedlock kid I’ve been cool on Jesse. I just can’t deal with this holier than thou crap. And I saw a photo of Bill Clinton, Monica and Jesse and his mistress chillin on beach chairs and I was too through. Good riddance!

July 21st, 2008 at 3:09 pm hisherness says:

@yoni, @aintmad, @Mr Ali … thanks for your responses. if i understand correctly, this is a habit born in religion and adopted in a more general fashion later. interesting. i still wouldn’t want to be addressed this way (it seems too familiar for casual acquaintance), but i think i understand it a bit better. maybe i’ll be able to keep from offending people when i ask them not to call me “sister” if i demonstrate a knowledge and appreciation for the intent… i hope!

July 21st, 2008 at 3:52 pm Torian Salary says:

Totally agree, I know you’re supposed to forgive and forget, but the private part comment was just a little too much, he lost my respect.

July 21st, 2008 at 6:00 pm Kea LaRue says:

I’M OFFICALLY THRU WITH ALL THE SO CALLED ‘LEADERS’ - WHITE FOLKS NEED TO REALIZE THESE PEOPLE DON’T SPEAK FOR US

July 21st, 2008 at 6:42 pm Geneva Taylor says:

When you only make money if someone suffers or its your birthday of course he don’t have our best interests at heart

July 21st, 2008 at 7:47 pm ratty says:

@Hisherness: What you are saying makes me sad. It makes me sad that there are people out there who prefer not to be embraced and called sister or brother. I don’t blame people for being offended by it when you “correct” them. But they should not be offended they should be sympathetic.

July 21st, 2008 at 9:44 pm Najee Ali says:

@Geneva Taylor,OUCH…lol @heatmizer you have a great memory.. i forgot about that pic. and your right

July 22nd, 2008 at 12:20 am nicq says:

Jesse Jackson went from being one of the brightest “black men” in the world to the most ignorant..he jus hating cuz no1 voted for him when he tried to run…its not because we were against you Jesse…its because no1 wants a prez who still sports relaxer in thier hair.

July 22nd, 2008 at 1:39 am Byron Black says:

I agree w/ you Ratty.

July 22nd, 2008 at 7:24 am Chatty Cathy says:

yikes @ hisher. are you black?

July 22nd, 2008 at 8:19 am hisherness says:

@ratty: does it? i’m sorry to hear it. but i do like being called sister … by my siblings or by people i’m close to. i still don’t quite understand the offense … anyone calling a casual acquaintance sister or brother is taking a liberty, and i don’t think my correction is offensive, since i’m not the one out of bounds by being too fresh or familiar.

July 22nd, 2008 at 10:48 am young clean bastard says:

its allright hisher. i don’t agree with u but u have ur right to not want that luv. its cool. it just hurts feelngs sometimes.

July 22nd, 2008 at 11:37 am Brown Sugar says:

Will this topic ever end??? It’s amazing that everybody has an opinion on this issue. However, to show just how much class Obama has (Who the remark was addressed to), he took the high road and didn’t even let it rent any space in his head. Not a comment came from him or his camp regarding this issue.

So the person that made the remark has to deal with this in his head and the guilt behind it.

When you do wrong, wrong comes back to you.

July 22nd, 2008 at 12:56 pm hisherness says:

@youngclean so far as i can tell, there’s no love involved. at best, it’s indiscriminate, similar to stereotyped entertainment industry insiders calling each other “darling;” i prefer for spoken endearments to actually hold meaning, and therefore chose not to dilute them by using them willy-nilly. but, then, i’m old-fashioned. now that i realize there’s a religious root to this practice, i understand how people don’t consider this a dilution … that is to say, i understand that this consideration is in the realm of that which is not to be understood.

July 22nd, 2008 at 3:47 pm Najee Ali says:

@ Brown sugar that’s what blogs and comments are for (:

July 22nd, 2008 at 7:34 pm Big Ced says:

I’ve been criticizing Jesse Jackson for years for the very same reasons he is being painted as a hypocrite…. SHAME ON YOU, JESSE JACKSON!!!!

July 23rd, 2008 at 12:59 pm chica22 says:

HisHerNess - It is NOT indiscriminate! It is a term of endearment toward someone of your own ethnicity that is chosen carefully. Its not doled out like some Holywood “darling.’ Bad example. This isn’t brain surgery. Historically this is nothing new. Whether rooted in religion or in a cultural or regional origins, many civilizations in the past and communities all over the word practice calling one another by a certain name which is received as a compliment. The use of ‘brother’ and ’sister’ in the black community is NOT a term I would use for someone I didn’t feel a kinship with. Like Condoleeza Rice for example as I feel no kinship toward her. A broad imperfect example but hopefully you get my drift. Nor would I use it in a situation where I got negative vibes from someone or felt we weren’t on the same page. Sister is reserved for a black woman who I meet and feel a kinship with simply based on the fact that we are more the same than we are alike. Same with Brother. It means I acknowledge you positively. Thank you for being you. During the Harlem Rennaissance, a time when black thought and art flourished, you see the terms used heavily in poetry, music and novels. It spurred a feeling of togetherness and community. It is POSITIVE. But if this all has to be explained in so much detail and your retorts are so disdainful , then its all a moot point. And I agree with Ratty, sad.

July 24th, 2008 at 10:15 am D Corn says:

I think that it time for Jesse Jackson to disappear from the public’s eye. I think this is mistake that will be hard to bounce back from. Even though everyone human. And the thought that he was just trying to defend black people, he just got caught using the wrong words at the wrong time - which could happen to any of us. Also, let’s not forget all the good he has done for this country as well as for black people. I think his time has come to end the public relations. I see this as a sad ending for a man who put his life on the line in the earlier years. I think he deserves to penalized but not detroyed - especially not by black people. Also, he’s one voice!! I’m so sick of people who think that there is one leader of the black race. There are several perspectives/leaders in the community.

July 27th, 2008 at 5:45 am Brown Sugar says:

@ Najee Ali, you write good blogs and I was only echoing back your own words of July 21st. I agree that’s what blogs are for people to express their opinions. However, it seems my opinions are not welcome on your blog. Therefore, I will cease any and all comments and communications with you on your blog. Thank you for your comments.

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