Jesse's Hatred for Barack ObamaShelby Steele pointed out in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that Jesse Jackson's recent admission to a hot microphone that he wanted to "cut [Barack Obama's] nuts off" is really an admission of the reality that Jesse Jackson hates Barack Obama, because Obama offers hope to the African-American community that one of their own can be accepted merely by showing faith in the white community, rather than using white guilt as leverage against them:
Mr. Jackson was always a challenger. He confronted American institutions (especially wealthy corporations) with the shame of America's racist past and demanded redress. He could have taken up the mantle of the early Martin Luther King (he famously smeared himself with the great man's blood after King was shot), and argued for equality out of a faith in the imagination and drive of his own people. Instead -- and tragically -- he and the entire civil rights establishment pursued equality through the manipulation of white guilt.
Their faith was in the easy moral leverage over white America that the civil rights victories of the 1960s had suddenly bestowed on them. So Mr. Jackson and his generation of black leaders made keeping whites "on the hook" the most sacred article of the post-'60s black identity.
They ushered in an extortionist era of civil rights, in which they said to American institutions: Your shame must now become our advantage. To argue differently -- that black development, for example, might be a more enduring road to black equality -- took whites "off the hook" and was therefore an unpardonable heresy. For this generation, an Uncle Tom was not a black who betrayed his race; it was a black who betrayed the group's bounty of moral leverage over whites. And now comes Mr. Obama, who became the first viable black presidential candidate precisely by giving up his moral leverage over whites.
On paper, that sounds like something awful-but in a time when most whites as well as blacks have accepted racist thought as totally unacceptable, we are beyond the point where the white community finds it acceptable to continue to saddle them with guilt for the past, without members of the African-American community taking responsibility for the here and now. If Barack Obama doesn't understand that, he is doing a wonderful job pretending as though he does.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama's sacrifice of black leverage has given him a chance to actually become the president. He has captured the devotion of millions of whites in ways that black leveragers never could. And the great masses of blacks -- blacks outside today's sclerotic black leadership -- see this very clearly. Until Mr. Obama, any black with a message of black responsibility would be called a "black conservative" and thereby marginalized. After Obama's NAACP speech, blacks flooded into the hotel lobby thanking him for "reminding" them of their responsibility.
Jesse Jackson was, of course, never interested in moral responsibility-at least not since Martin Luther King passed from this Earth. What he was very interested in was capitalizing on white guilt, and he has been the master at it for decades in this country's political and social discourse.
Now along comes Barack Obama. Yes, Obama subscribes to the same political liberalism that Jesse Jackson and other so-called black "leaders" believe that the African-American community must subscribe to, but Obama is also going to the NAACP and preaching the message of black responsibility. This is the very same message that, when proclaimed by black conservatives and other African-Americans of conscience, gets them the dreaded brand of "Uncle Tom." Jesse Jackson made his political way (if it can be called that) for years by talking up white guilt in the news media. It got him nowhere, and made he and his fellow-traveler Al Sharpton the brunt of fear, jokes, and disgust in both the white and Hispanic communities. While some may think that the fear Jackson created was a good thing, it did little to benefit the black community and created unneeded resentment among whites.
Barack Obama has taken a completely different approach. Obama doesn't manipulate white guilt, but he instead seems to show faith in the basic ability of the ordinary voter to accept him for who he is and judge his ability to be Commander-in-Chief based on his ideas.
I won't be voting for Barack Obama in the fall, but that is a decision made based on ideas, issues, and policies. Barack Obama has managed to get no small number of white people to support him because he showed faith in them rather than suspicion.
Jesse Jackson's entire career has been built on suspicion and hate. It made a joke of him in the eyes of mainstream America. Barack Obama discards suspicion and hate, and he becomes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. He is also embraced by the African-American community in overwhelming numbers, while Jesse Jackson is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
That irrelevance in the face of a positive message is why Jesse Jackson hates Barack Obama, and wants to cut his n**s off.