Who is Jesse Jackson?

I’m from the UK, but I’m a big fan of the American show South Park.
Jesse Jackson appeared in one episode, and I am curious what role does he have, and who elected him or was he appointed by the president? Do you have similar official representatives for the other ethnicities in America?

I’ve seen pictures of the Jena protests, and a video of him outside the Neverland ranch when Micheal Jackson died.

He holds no official public or political office of any sort, elected, appointed or otherwise. He has run for, but did not win, the Democratic nomination for President twice.

He is a civil rights and social justice activist, a former Baptist pastor (still a minister but he doesn’t serve any one church) and media commentator. He is one of the leading African American community leaders in the country. He is also the president of Rainbow/PUSH a civil rights and social justice organization.

He’s a fairly divisive figure in America, which you might have gleaned from South Park.

His supporters view him as somebody who works tirelessly to make sure racial issues aren’t swept under the rug and that minorities still push for equal treatment. He was active in the civil rights movement from early on, and commands some respect due to the length and depth of his involvement in civil rights issues.

His detractors view him as an attention-grabber who has grown obsessed with the spotlight and who will cry “racism!” any time a black person is accused of something bad by a white person. He is viewed as being something of an “us vs. them” person, and I think many white people believe Jackson would willingly, directly take things from white people and give them to black people if he had the power.

For myself, I find him a bit irritating but also imagine I’d find most people doing his job irritating. And it’s probably good that somebody is doing his job.

As an American I found this hilarious. :smiley:

Nitpick: he did hold the position of “shadow senator” from the District of Columbia from '91 to '96. (To the OP: due to quirks in the U.S. Constitution, residents of the District of Columbia, where the city of Washington is located, do not have any official representation in Congress.) This position is pretty much powerless, but it’s technically an elected office.


That is funny but upon reflection it’s kind of odd that we don’t …especially for Hispamics.

Was this, by any chance, the episode where Randy had to literally kiss his ass after uttering the “n-word” during a game show? If so, I can see how the OP might have gotten the impression that he did.

Thank you for all your answers

Is shadow the preferred term now? I don’t see what’s so wrong with ‘Black’ or “African-American”:):):slight_smile:


Jackson’s “Rainbow Coalition” is famous for shaking down various industries. Blacks are often underepresented in well-paying jobs, generally for reasons of historical racism and poor education. Jackson would roll into town, accuse the leaders of an industry (like Wall Street Banks, etc.) of systemic racism, and demand and receive “donations” to his group in order to make him shut up and go away.

I recall the news articles when he tried this tactic on Silicon Valley in the 90’s. The leaders of the industry, basically in a years-long hiring frenzy, told him “Oh, you have lists of people who are qualified and looking for jobs? By all means send us their names!” He left without getting any money out of them.

Initially he was a bit hostile to Obama’s presidential bid; a bit resentful that some people like himself had spent decades promoting civil rights and working in politics, then some guy comes out of nowhere to get the presidential nomination. Or as one commentator said, Jackson’s made his living off of ‘no we can’t because they won’t let us’, so to have someone come along with ‘yes we can’ and prove him wrong, and undercut his livlihood, was a little annoying.

I believe Jesse Jackson worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and was present at the Lorraine Motel. I get the impression that Jackson viewed himself as Dr King’s successor as leader of the civil rights movement.

“a bit?” If I recall, he was caught on mike saying something about cutting Obama’s balls off!

Yes, he’s a civil rights leader, but these days he’s far from universally loved even within the black community.

LOL. Shadow Congressman. It’s still just “black,” or for some people “African-American” (which doesn’t account for blacks in other countries).

A reporter asks the British runner Kris Akubusi about his recent olympic gold
**Reporter: **“So, Kris, what does this mean to you as an African-American?”
**Kris: **“I’m not American, I’m British”
**Reporter: **“Yes, but as a British African-American …”
**Kris: **“I’m not African. I’m not American. I’m British.”

Even black people have wondered just who the hell he is, making himself the representative of blackdom.

Marin Luther King died right in Jessie Jackson’s arms. Jessie Jackson received his mission from Dr. King’s last words as he was baptized in his blood. Oh wait, that is what Jessie claimed for many years until it was proven it was complete bullshit. He wasn’t even near Martin Luther King when he was shot.

Who is Jesse Jackson??

A tremendous figure of strength and passion… also a figure with Shakespearean levels of ego and pomposity…

But also one of the greatest men this country has ever produced…

Interestingly for this thread, one of the things for which Jesse Jackson is known is leading the movement to call blacks African-American.

On a plane from Dulles to San Francisco Jesse Jackson sat two rows behind me, aisle seat. It seemed like a good thing that he rode in coach, with all the commoners.

He is also a proponent of children’s literature. :wink: