Give the photographer a Pulitzer for capturing this image without resort to Photoshop:
I'm deeply outraged and disappointed in Reverend Jackson's reckless statements about Senator Barack Obama. His divisive and demeaning comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee — and I believe the next president of the United States — contradict his inspiring and courageous career," wrote Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), an Obama campaign co-chairman, in a statement sent out after word began spreading that his father had said something crude and deeply offensive….
The exact words have yet to be aired, but Rev. Jackson was near a microphone that he assumed was off when he disparaged Obama's tendency to tell African American audiences, especially black men, they needed to turn off their children's television sets, attend to their homework and keep their families together.
Apparently Jackson's remark was one that, had the statement been broadcast, would have prompted parents to turn off their children's television sets for an entirely different reason than the ones Obama suggests.
What prompted the elder Jackson's ire, and the ire of the son against the father, is the sort of message that when delivered by a culturally insignificant outlier like Bill Cosby, prompts outcry against the messenger from some though by no means all segments of the old guard of black political leaders. Among those who aren't black, the same statement would prompt "yes , but…" handwringing among some who are upset when others mention it.
The agreement negation and handwringing boils down to "yes, all of that is true, but you shouldn't mention it: because you're not black; you don't understand what it's like; neither do I; I don't trust your motives; and all of this should be allowed to play out in the black media rather than in general media, because it's demeaning." Or something like that.
The "yes, but" is inevitably followed by the "no, because". "No, that's not true, because I do understand; my Italian / Irish / Japanese forefathers came here with nothing yet behaved like men; I condemn non-black men who behave like bums; because this black man, who came from nothing, is saying it himself; and because until this group of black fathers accept their responsibilities things will never get better." Etc.
Neither the "yes, but" nor the "no, because" is fully ingenuous. Many of the "yes, but" crowd, admit it or not, do hold to what another politician called the soft bigotry of low expectations, while the "no, because" group rarely if ever singles out Irish or Italian or Japanese American bums because said bums are of Irish or Italian or Japanese ancestry, yet some do it depressingly often when the bums are black.
(Perhaps you'll see this process play out in our comments section.)
But Barack Obama is no longer a culturally insignificant outlier and the days when anything he said wasn't fodder for the general media are long gone. The odds are very good that he'll have his arugula-stained fingers on the button within months. At some point he will he no longer be a symbol, a token, or a fetish, for Jackson, for white progressives, for white conservatives, or for anyone else.
If he wins, the actualization of Barack Obama will be a fascinating thing to watch.