Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jesse, Obama, Men, and Their Nuts

Let me say up front that I wish Jesse hadn't said what he said about Obama's testicles and his opinion of how Obama talks to black people. I don't know what's going on in The Rev. Jesse Jackson's head. Is he comparing himself to Obama and regretting that he couldn't have had as much approval? Does it bother him that Obama's on the cover of Ebony as the epitome of black cool? Perhaps Jesse feels that he made the sacrifice but Obama's taking the spoils. Of course, it's possible that Rev. Jackson really thinks Obama is disrespectful and "talks down" to other African-Americans.

It's also possible that Jesse took the comments Obama made about absent black fathers personally. He may have done so first because Jackson himself was raised without a father (Sometimes people raised without fathers feel comments about the importance of fathers imply those raised without fathers are deficient.) and second because Jackson has his own share of fatherhood drama. If Obama hit a nerve, then Jesse's comment may be an example of hit dog hollers loudest.

But I thought of two other things immediately when I heard about Jesse's "nuts" invective. The first thing I thought was that Jesse should have learned from his "hymietown" incident that you should always assume someone else may hear you in public. With all the scrutiny FOX News gives him and other black leaders, he should have at least suspected FOX News was listening, and they were indeed listening.

The other thing I thought was that Jesse is probably more worn out and tired in 2008 than when I interviewed him in the 90s. I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps he didn't know what he was saying because he's gotten up in age and may have the first signs of dementia, but what if a white guy had said what Jesse said?

Nevertheless, I'll let the pundits dissect history, the psychology motivating the man, and the implications of Jesse wanting to cut off Obama's nuts. The only thing I'm reflecting on now is how this comment affected men.

As you can see in the video above from 23/6 , a slew of TV anchors, all of them men in that clip, could not bring themselves to say the word "nuts," and I recalled the men I know and how they behave if they even get a hint of nut damage.

When most men I've observed watch television or a movie and see a man gets hit in the groin, they groan in sympathy. I suspect many men both winced and commiserated when they heard Jesse Jackson's thoughts about cutting off another man's nuts.

As I've suggested, deeper thought can be given to this issue, but I'm too tired tonight. Actually, I'm tired of the whole campaign. Nevertheless, I'm sure Jesse spoke in figurative language. He wants to knock Obama down a few pegs, closer to where Jesse sees himself.

NOTE: Jackson apologized before this story aired on FOX. Obama responded, and Jesse's son had harsh words for his father, but he also said he loves him. Read more here.

And, I've done more thinking on this subject:
Click here.

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my blog said...

is this politics? I wonder how they can talk about these things .

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Orchid64 said...

I think part of it is that Jackson has been the default spokesman politically for black America for a long time and he's not pleased at being toppled from his throne, but I believe it's more than that.

Part of it could be that Jackson is from a generation with a different mindset. He speaks of all problems African Americans experience as being the result of oppression and probably doesn't understand the language Obama speaks. He may even feel that Obama's message may be undermining the needs of African Americans. In general, I think Jackson has always been about placing responsibility for every black person's problems at the feet of white America and Obama is speaking about perhaps the responsibility being with the fathers themselves rather than at some social injustice. I think Jackson's generation can't make the transition in thinking that is required to understand Obama's message and he's angry that the message is no longer the one that suits his agenda.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you for leaving honest thoughts. You have a valid point. My original response was so long that I posted it as its own 2-part post.