“Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama” (Shelby Steele–Must Read IMO)

Shelby Steele not only clearly dissects the Jesse Jackson animus toward Obama but he also does a good job of explaining the strange appeal of Obama in general.

Here’s excerpt and link [emphasis mine]…

Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama
WSJ
By SHELBY STEELE
July 22, 2008; Page A19


A few weeks ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson made something of a fool of himself. There he was — a historical figure in his own right — threatening the castration of Barack Obama. It was sad to see.


If I have often criticized Mr. Jackson, I have also, reservedly, admired him. He is a late 20th century outcropping of a profoundly American archetype: the self-invented man who comes from nothing and, out of sheer force of personality, imposes himself on the American consciousness. If he never reached the greatness to which he aspired, he nevertheless did honor to the enduring American tradition of bold and unapologetic opportunism.


But now — not looking old so much as a bit lost within the new Obama aura — it is clear that Jesse Jackson has come to a kind of dénouement. Some force that once buoyed him up now seems spent.


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.

Continue reading…

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