August 01, 2007 @ 5:15 am

Al Sharpton on Barack Obama (Q&A)

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From our September 2007 issue.

From our September 2007 issue: Al Sharpton on Barack Obama, in his own words. Has Barack Obama said anything that makes you think he has a clear view of the civil rights agenda?
I think that he, early, caused a lot concerns for me. He was not talking about affirmative action. There was a ballot initiative in Michigan. He went in and supported the incumbent senator, didn't say anything about the affirmative action, didn't support a sister that was running for mayor against Daly. In fact, he endorsed Daly against her in March of this year. . . So, we asked a question. As of late, we've done a lot more talking. He came to our National Action Network Convention. He's beginning to show more progress. So, I'm not as concerned as I was. I'm not all the way there yet, but I think he has made a lot of improvement. What would it take for you to really endorse the man?
I want to see a strong stand on issues that concern people - the redistribution of wealth. I want to see that they will say, "I will appoint an attorney general that will police misconduct all the way to job discrimination." I want to address the criminal justice system. I want them to address economy. And I want them to say that "I support a single parent plan. A health care program where it is mandatory that every American, they have their health coverage. That's what I want, 'cause then you're rallying around a cause. The cause can't be the candidate, the candidate must be around the cause. The reason is for that is that if they lose, at least we will have advanced the cause. That will be in the debate, that will be in the discussion, and the winner will have to deal with it. But if the cause is only the candidate, when the candidate loses we've lost everything. So, when I ran or when Jesse Jackson ran even though we didn't win, our causes became more popular. And in fact, many of things that Kerry ended up running on and some of what Hillary, Barack, and Edwards is talking about now is what I talked about in '04. If you only have the candidate as the cause, you gotta lose if he lose. When you got a candidate who represents a cause, you can't lose, because the cause may win even if the candidate doesn't win. So, the cause is sometimes bigger than the candidate?
The cause ought to always be bigger than the candidate, and when I said Obama is the cause, the cause can't be Obama. The cause has got to be what you stand for. You gotta decide that. How important would it be to have a black president?
It would be a great moment as long as the black candidate was supporting the interest that would inevitably help our people. A lot of my friends went with Clarence Thomas and regret it to this day. I don't assume that just because somebody's my color, they're my kind. But I'm warming up to Obama, but I'm not there yet.

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wardell montgomery says:

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I agree with Al that it is the cause. Rev. Al has a way of making difficult questions very simple by applying comon sense. The candidate I like the best is Dennis Kucinich because on all the issues that I've heard or read about is the most thought provoking. Ideas that can really work if we had the will to do them. But the corporate people running the show don't want a good liberal program that is good for poor and working classs people regarless of color. As a black man, I want the best for those who have the least.

Wardell Montgomery Jr.


Busi says:

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really now people to wish the man death - you just make yourselves look stupid in the eyes of the world - thank the Lord I'm not an American!


my_2_cents_4u says:

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Al Sharpton -- the quintessential loudmouthed pimp that made a career out of scarin' whitey. An embarrasment to our race -- the human race, that is.


GB says:

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The best thing Obama could do for himself is STAY CLEAR AWAY FROM THIS HYPOCRITE RACIST. Al Sharpton has almost singlehandedly destroyed everything that REAL civil rights leaders worked hard to create.



tommyc says:

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Obama would make the best pres of all the dems,he is well spoken, as a white guy I can relate to him, he si not a member of the Rich elete like sharpton , Jackson adn Hillary!


Tommy C says:

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Al Sharpton, he is a NUT, why the hell should whites pay for slavery, other Blacks in Africa sold eachother into slavery!If its so bad here move back to Africa, I have been there its a 3rd world country,


Marcus Mapleh says:

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The Willie Lynch letters! Sad to say we are still reaping the effects of its logic. Wake me when we collectively realize this.


rico says:

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anti sharpton iseither a white racist or a jigga boo. I like obama, and I also respect al sharpton. we need to stop choosing sides and unite.


Obama Rules! says:

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Sharpton totally contradicts himself by putting Barack down for voting "against a sister" yet says "just because they're my color doesn't mean they're my kind".

So they may not be "your kind" but you still have to vote for them because they are your color?

Nice logic...


jay says:

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Sharpton is still into running for causes and making statements, and influencing the debate, and losing because losing is something he is obviously comfortable with. We have left that era, we want and need to win, and we will stand on issues that make sense for all of America, and this time we will elect someone who will make this county better. There is no stronger candidate that has worked more deligently and consistently for causes that are important to the African-American community than Barack Obama. Al needs to heat up his warming up to Obama before his own leadership is left out in the cold.


Carrington Ward says:

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For what it's worth, it's interesting to note a mirror-pattern between Obama and Hillary:

Obama plays better with white 'limo-liberals;' Hillary plays better with "Reagan Democrats"

Ironically, it seems Obama plays better with young and working class African Americans, while Hillary gets the limo voters: bourgeois blacks who get worked up about his being 'really' black as opposed to just driving while black or being black at a job interview.


Carrington Ward says:

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----"This implies Obama should be given the position of president because he's part black. Negating he's only been a senator since 2005. He's never been mayor, governor or in any other major leadership role." ----

So Abe Lincoln was an affirmative action candidate? Or Dwight Eisenhower, who had _no_ experience in American politics?


Brian says:

Al Sharpton is idiotic beyond any point I thought possible.


ItsTimeToTurnThePage says:

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Sharpton said, "I don't assume that just because somebody's my color, they're my kind."

Folks, make sure you remember that quote.

Just because Sharpton's our color doesn't make him our kind. Just because Sharpton talks a good game doesn't mean he really has our best interest at heart.

Remember, Sharpton has made a lot of money and garnered a lot of political power on the backs of our people and has he really done anything of significance? Think about it before you listen to what he has to say about Senator Obama.

Don't be fooled by Sharpton. He's an opportunist. He pretends to be about the community and our people but he's tucked away over in Camp Hillary.

Obama is not the best candidate for president because he's black. He's the best damn candidate who happens to be black.

Sharpton knows it and yet he's a card-carrying member of camp Hillary trying to convince our community to vote against our own interest.

Please, think back on the Clinton Administration. What did they do for us?

They gave us NAFTA (which led to jobs being outsourced),

They allowed thousands to die in Rwanda,

They did nothing about our inner-city schools, etc.

I'll stop here and allow you to research the rest.

Don't be fooled by Sharpton. He has an agenda.


ItsTimeToTurnThePage says:

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From what I've seen Sharpton has been quite warm with HRC. Does he believe HRC is concerned with the redistribution of wealth given her deep deep ties to lobbyists?

Has HRC rolled out a heathcare reform plan that none of us know about except Sharpton? Obama has and we can go to to see his health care reform plan.

Has HRC given major policy speeches regarding the criminal justice system, police misconduct or the economy? Have any of the other candidates given the policy speeches Obama has given?

Has HRC committed to doing something about the Clinton administration's NAFTA (causing the outsourcing of American jobs hence affecting the economy)? Surely Sharpton is concerned about the outsourcing of jobs if he's concerned about the economy.

Sharpton is a phony and a fraud just like his GAL-PAL HRC.

He is a disgrace to our community. Sharpton is out for himself just as Hillary is out for herself. They both want power, money and influence. They make a great pair.


A. C. Johnson Esq. says:

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I'm tired of folk acting like Rev Sharpton coined that phrase. That was made by a Black West Point Graduate


Muhammad B. Lawal says:

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I do not see how else anyone can be more pragmatic on the issue of "cause" being bigger than the "candidate" as El Sharpton. In a sense, that indicates the ingenuity of your motives of running for the office. In another sense, the electorate still receive the consolation price of virtues of the conscience when the Bull turns its Red eye for the constestant of their choice to shoot!


anti-sharpton says:

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@jo jackson

"Affirmitive action would be to vote for Obama."

I agree.

also.. Affirmitive action would be to vote for H. Clinton. (for president)

@M Jones

Do you prefer preferential treatment, being labeled socio-politically disadvantaged and get hired to fill a quota. In contrast to having the skills and qualifications for the job applying for?

This implies Obama should be given the position of president because he's part black. Negating he's only been a senator since 2005. He's never been mayor, governor or in any other major leadership role.

Most Blacks hate Clarence Thomas because he's conservative and dislikes Affirmative Action.

Obama if he become pres max 8 years..

Clarence Thomas supreme court justice - for the rest of his life. So having a black person in a high position is not the issue, its one that's "my kind"


M Jones says:

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I support anyone who speaks the truth about racism in America. "
Affirmative Action was created to right the wrongs of over 200 years of slavery, racism and other injustices to people of color. Affirmative Action or Reparations are not the casue but the effect of biased American politics and law.
Obama has to please the masses to get elected, if he does not, he will definitely lose. (That's Politics!) But, he should stand firm for something less he falls for anything.
Sharpton is as credible as anyone else in politics and certainly more credible than most. At least he has an opinion about human kind's well being and does not dodge the issues that effect us all.
Love each other as a people and we will unite in love to defeat hate and other sins of the world.


jo jackson says:

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Sharpton needs to go to the gym and stop hatin. He may be salty cause he was a joke when he run for president. Finally a brother does his thing and is being taken serious and you want to hate. Afirmitive action would be to vote for Obama. Plus the perm is played out player


Ansu says:

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Quoting Al:
#1 didn't support a sister that was running for mayor against Daly. In fact, he endorsed Daly against her in March of this year.

#2 I don't assume that just because somebody's my color, they're my kind. But I'm warming up to Obama, but I'm not there yet.

Hon. Al can you explain these two quotes for us?


J.Kevin Flagg says:

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I admire Obama.l He is white enough to get the white vote. This is important in America. He is also black enough to keep brothers and sisters engaged.


Naketchia Alfred says:

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While I appreciate the work that civil rights activists such as Sharpton have contributed to our communities, I often question the notion that he is the voice of politically concious Black Americans. Must we always seek HIS opinion when an issue of color and race is presented in Ameica? Will our approval or disapproval of Obama be altered based on the opinions of one man? I dispise the idea of the Black leaders who speak for all of us. Let's solicit someone else's opinion next time.


Yolanda Hinton-Penn says:

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Al Sharpton this article makes so much sense to me. To a black women that is really now getting into politics this is a very key point. I would also like to thank the person that interviewed him-this is knowledge! The cause is what counts not just the color. Our childrens education, the only thing that I would like to add to this is the fact that our real history need to be shown in every publication of our black magazine. This is our problem we are running away from one another. I believe that this is a disgrace how we are deciding to date the very same race that continues to enslave us. We are even more lost now than ever. One would think that we would be coming together, now that we have the fame the platform and money. Instead our black men are walking away from the very strength that got them where they are today (black women)! How dare them, do they know what power that they are giving the white man. We (black women) are the foundation and the strength our community. How did the black man get their foot in the door, the black women had to open it for them. For them to walk on us like this is showing how we have lost focus. This is a disgrace to our race. I will continue to teach my children our foundation and how this country was built our backs.
We were humiliated in the past by the white man when they disrespected our men, had to watch them being beat in front of their wives and children, rape their wives and black men had to endure it. To turn around and have our athletes say they cant help whom they fall in love with. That is a cop out, they just dont want to carry the responsibilty that we were born into this world with, just by being the black. This is suppose to be our time. We were suppose get to this point and band together to finally make things better and fair. We are more enslave now than ever. What do we stand for?


Lakisha says:

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I dislike al because I think he gives Blacks a bad name. He is so controversial. I could never support him not even for my trash man


Ahmed DFaried says:

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I am an Obama supporter but Al Sharpton has done a lot for the minorities in this country, I respect his opinion


anti-sharpton says:

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doesn't really matter. however, I wasn't calling you an "Idiot..."

Interesting how you concluded that...

No I'm not intimidated by Al. Sharpton


Pam says:

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How sophisticated of you to result to name calling. Tell me, are you that intimidated by Al Sharpton to want the man dead (and you call me an idiot!!). I could care less for whom Al Sharpton votes for boo, has no influence on me. I want to thank you for proving my point, you just don't understand.


anti-sharpton says:

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Al Sharptopn - states he votes democrate because:
"It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats."

Blacks where slaves under the Democrats also. I guess he doesn't know The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party co-founded by Thomas Jefferson..


Re more about this fake...


kenneth roundtree says:

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Check out this article!


Romario says:

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"He went in and supported the incumbent senator, didn't say anything about the affirmative action, didn't support a sister that was running for mayor against Daly. In fact, he endorsed Daly against her in March of this year. . . "

So Sharpton wanted Obama to endorse the "sister", regardless of her qualifications? Maybe Obama endorsed who he felt was the most qualified?

This Sharpton clown needs to STFU.


Tim says:

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Al Sharpton is bitter than Barack Obama is more credible than he is.


Pam says:

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What a horrible thing to say about Al Sharpton. Look, I don't agree with him when it comes to Barack Obama at all, but I don't wish death on no man. Grow up!!!
As for Affirmative Action and reparation for slavery, I wouln't expect you to understand.


anti-sharpton says:

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I can't believe VIBE considers this guy credible.

The logic in this statement:
"He was not talking about affirmative action." and
"I don't assume that just because somebody's my color, they're my kind."

Most blacks are plagued with this lame ass logic. If they're not advocating "Affirmative Action", "Reperations" and not voting for the democratc because blacks were given the right to vote under them. You're not his/their kind.

Why should the american tax dollar pay for something that happened over 200 years ago..?

Al Sharpton - should have died after being stabbed.!!