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2006-04-28

Jesse Jackson on Race Comments by New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: "An Attempt to Make the Quest for Racial Justice Illegitimate"

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We get response from the Rev. Jesse Jackson about comments made by incoming White Press Secretary–former Fox News commentator Tony Snow. Last week, Snow said on his radio program, "People like Jesse Jackson who have committed themselves to a view that blacks are constantly victims have succeeded in creating...an underclass that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere." [includes rush transcript]

At the White House on Wednesday, President Bush introduced his new Press Secretary, former Fox News commentator Tony Snow.

Snow is already coming under scrutiny for a series of controversial comments he’s made on his radio program. Just last week, Snow said, "People like Jesse Jackson who have committed themselves to a view that blacks are constantly victims, have succeeded in creating in the United States the most dangerous thing that we’ve encountered in our lifetime; which is, an underclass that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us now on the line from Michigan.

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader. He is the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, a progressive organization fighting for social change.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us now on the line from Washington D.C. He’s founder of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a progressive organization fighting for social change. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Reverend Jackson.

REV. JESSE JACKSON: Good morning. How are you today?

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Your response to Tony Snow?

REV. JESSE JACKSON: You know, I’m reluctant to dignify it, except there is an attempt to make the quest for racial justice illegitimate, an attempt to make gender equality illegitimate, an attempt to make a call to peace unpatriotic. That’s a kind of a consistent rightwing line. The fact is that people of color were locked out of opportunity by law and must be protected by law. And now this administration, that law is not being enforced.

For example, we were denied the right to vote by law for 346 years until 1965. The law in 1965 was an 1870 law passed that would not honored by the States, and the federal government had to intervene. What’s relevant today about that is, in Louisiana today, that law has been suspended again. So, Iraqi Americans can vote by satellite from America to Baghdad and Fallujah, but New Orleanians cannot vote by satellite from New York or from Memphis to New Orleans. So we’re fighting for a democracy in Iraq we do not honor at home. And who are the victims of that for the most part? People of color. So that’s not something I’m creating. That is government policy.

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