Jesse Jackson Sr. Thinks Birther Is Code for Racist

Activist says the birther movement aims to set back civil rights gains.

Posted: 04/27/2011 12:21 PM EDT


(Photo: Greg Whitsell/Landov)  



While other black leaders have danced delicately around whether the birther movement is fueled by racism, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is telling it like it is. In an interview with Politico, the civil rights leader said that discussions about President Obama’s birthplace are actually a coded or covert way of stirring up old racial fears. He also blamed Donald Trump for refocusing the nation’s attention on the issue.


Separately, in an effort to end the distraction about his place of birth, Obama earlier this morning released the long-form version of his birth certificate.


“Trump has trumpeted this cause. For him to go down this low is a bit surprising,” Jackson said. “He is now tapping into code-word fears that go far beyond a rational discourse.”


Jackson also said that birtherism is part of a larger effort to reverse civil rights gains, pointing to such issues such as the battle GOP state legislatures have been waging with public sector unions and attempts to alter voter ID policies to make it more difficult for minorities and the elderly to vote.


“I’m saying there’s a pattern here. It’s not just name calling of Barack. We’ll win that battle,” Jackson told Politico. “There is a retreat—a pronounced, documented retreat on civil rights enforcement.”

Is the birther movement racist?