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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sociopath alert: Jesse Jackson

Mentioning Jesse Jackson Jr. the other day reminded me of his father. You'd think Jackson would be yesterday's news, but he continues to insert himself into the middle of every racial controversy that flares up.

Jackson has led a life characterized by shamelessness, hypocrisy, dishonesty, lack of inhibition, manipulativeness, and the need for attention.

Jackson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. While in high school, he worked at a fast food restaurant, where, as he later boasted to black audiences, he took pleasure in spitting in white people's food before it was served to them.

Jackson attended the University of Illinois for a year. He left, partly out of frustration at not being named the starting quarterback on the football team. He claimed he was denied because of racism, but those who were there at the time said that he simply wasn't good enough. Jackson's charge is curious because the starting quarterback that year was black.

Jackson first gained national fame -- and notoriety -- as an aide to Martin Luther King Jr. When King was assassinated on that Memphis hotel balcony, Jackson was in the parking lot below. But he rushed upstairs after the shooting, ran his hands through the blood on the balcony, and wiped them on his shirt. Jackson claimed to the press that he had cradled the dying MLK. When he appeared on NBC the next day, he wore the same shirt, with the blood still on it, which enraged those closest to King.

The Reverend Ralph Abernathy later kicked Jackson out of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for "organizational improprieties."

After Jackson was kicked out of the SCLC, he formed his own organization, Operation PUSH, which stood for People United to Save Humanity; Jackson evidently saw himself as the savior of all mankind. Jackson later ran into trouble with the IRS when he was unable to account for how PUSH funds had been spent.

Jackson ran for President in both 1984 and 1988, though no analysts thought he had a serious shot at the nomination. In 1988 he received 98% of the black vote, which was close to 24% of the Democratic vote. During the 1984 campaign he famously referred to New York City as "Hymietown," an interesting word choice from a man whose self-professed cause has been fighting racism.

Since then Jackson has made a career of inserting himself into every racial flareup in the country, as long as it ostensibly involved white perpetrators and black victims. The incidents he has injected himself into are far too numerous to list, but they include the first OJ Simpson trial (he visited OJ in jail to "pray with him" and "hear him express his concerns" about his "ordeal"), the Jena 6 case, the Duke lacrosse case, and the Trayvon Martin shooting (after which he said that "blacks are under attack" and suggested "we go to war").

One has to wonder, who invites Jackson to fly into town and weigh in with his opinion during these incidents?

Jackson also seems to show up at the funeral of every black celebrity important enough to attract television cameras, and appoints himself as family spokesman. He was prominent among the mourners at Michael Jackson's funeral. More recently, when Whitney Houston died, Jackson showed up and sat in the pulpit during the ceremony. It's gotten to the point where his constant lugubrious presence seems downright ghoulish.

The grieving relatives never tell him to get lost, since he's Jesse Jackson. But one has to wonder what they actually think of him; he can't possibly be close to all these families. (When Muhammad Ali dies, assuming he doesn't outlive Jackson, you can bet Jesse will be there doing his best to take center stage.)

Jackson has also made a career out of extorting companies he deems too white. His general modus operandi is to threaten boycotts and picket lines, then relent when the company either agrees to hire more minorities, or more likely, makes a generous contribution to Operation PUSH or some other entity Jackson has a financial interest in. In 1998 Jackson obtained an Anheuser Busch beer distributorship for two of his sons by threatening them with a boycott.

One executive, T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor, rebuffed Jackson's efforts and publicly defended the diversity of his company. Jackson's response was vintage Jesse: "We can now officially describe Cypress Semiconductor as a white supremacist hate group."

When President Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Jesse Jackson swooped in to "counsel" the President and offer him "spiritual guidance." It emerged shortly thereafter that Jackson himself had a love child with one of his employees, Karin Stanford, in 1999. Stanford sued Jackson for child support in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2011, saying that Jackson had not made any payments between December 2010 and August 2011, despite repeated requests from her.

Stanford later said that there were many former employees of Jackson's Rainbow Coalition/Operation PUSH who "hate him and want to destroy him." Leaving a trail of disgruntled former associates is typical of sociopaths.

In any case, the list of Jackson's hypocrisies is too long to list. The more interesting question, as with all sociopaths, is how he got that way.

The answer lies buried somewhere in his early upbringing. Jesse was born to a 16-year-old mother, Helen Burns; his father was 32-year-old Noah Lewis Robinson, a married man who lived in the neighborhood. Two years later Helen married Charles Jackson. Helen told the young Jesse that Charles Jackson was his father. But neighborhood kids taunted Jesse and told him that was not the case. (A surprising number of sociopaths seem to have been lied to about their parentage.)

It has always looked to me as if Jesse Jackson, with his widely spaced eyes, has fetal alcohol syndrome. I've also wondered if Jackson, who's never been without a mustache since he was a young man, might possibly have had a harelip. (Look closely at his mouth in the picture above; an improperly healed cleft palate could have something to do with his weird accent and staccato speech.) According to this website, a mother who drinks is four times more likely to have a child with a cleft palate.

When Jackson was born, in 1941, the rate of illegitimate births among blacks was far lower than it is now. Helen Burns reportedly received strong disapproval from family and friends when she became pregnant by the older married man; she was even expelled from her church. It's not a stretch to think that Burns turned to drink to assuage her troubles during her pregnancy.

Burns reportedly was one of the prettiest girls at her high school, had the best singing voice there, and had offers from music schools. Is it possible that Jackson's 16 year old mother didn't really want him? And that at a certain level, she resented the little baby who had in a sense ruined her life? And might those feelings have been intensified if, when she saw that little baby for the first time, he had a harelip?

All this is purely speculation, but it makes sense. And it would certainly provide the answer to Jackson's character.

Jackson can't be blamed for his family background. But neither can Ted Bundy be blamed for having been lied to about his parentage. And the fact remains, whatever causes a sociopath to become that way, sociopaths are by definition despicable.

Jackson is certainly no exception. By manipulatively telling black people that their problems are due to white racism, and by enraging whites with his hypocrisy, he has single-handedly set back race relations more than anyone else within recent memory.


Brian Fradet said...


Good analysis of this nut. He and Al Sharpton probably have done more to harm racial relations than they any good they may have done. But they need to continue because they, most likely, have no other purpose in life. Thanks, Brian

John Craig said...

Thanks Brian. Yes, he and Al are two of a kind. I occasionally wonder what they think of each other, as they are each other's biggest rivals. They must, at a certain level, hate each other.

Unknown said...


This is great writing. In a brief capsule you've brilliantly summarized his whole shameful career -- and the background to it.


Jonathan Leaf

John Craig said...

Thank you Jon.

Pete said...

He was sued sometime back by a gay aide who claimed sexual harassment. He stated Jackson asked for oral sex from him and bragged that that was how he partly got through high school; he let some adult gay teacher perform sex acts on him in return for good grades and the use of his car. The aide also stated part of his job was to pick up used condoms after Jackson's partying with various women.
Jackson has had a strong relationship with and support from the mainstream media, otherwise one wouldn't have heard so much about him. He's been the go-to guy for their soundbites. They've always given him a podium, which makes one wonder why.
He was Clinton's "spiritual advisor" for awhile, which is a real laugh.

John Craig said...

Pete --
Wow, I'd heard about the gay aide suing him, but hadn't heard about Jackson boasting about how he'd gotten through high school. His list of transgressions against decency are really far too numerous to list.

Baloo said...

Really, REALLY good stuff. I've linked to it here:

John Craig said...

Thank you Baloo.

Anonymous said...

Psychopathy is genetic. Part of the reason so many psychopaths have questionable paternity is because sexually promiscuity is a psychopathic traits that gets passed down by the genes. Parenting has no measurable effect on how kids turn out. Look up cross adoption studies.

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
There is such a thing as an "organic psychopath," who, due to his genetic and hormonal makeup, is going to be much harder to socialize than most. And this, by the way, is why sociopathy is more common among men than women. But most experts say that the main cause of sociopathy is simply the lack of a true bond between a parent and a child in the first year or two of life. If that bond isn't established then, it's too late, and that's why a much higher percentage of adopted kids turn out sociopathic. I know, there's also evidence that differences in the forebrain can also contribute.

John Craig said...

PS -- Instead of saying adopted kids, I mean to say, kids who've grown up in orphanages. Adopted kids, if they're adopted young enough, have plenty of opportunity to bond with a parent in the first year of life. It's the kids who were immediately put into orphanages at birth, and raised institutionally, who cause so much damage later on. For instance, all those kids who have been adopted in this country from Russian and Romanian orphanages, whose parents have had so much trouble with them.

Anonymous said...

But most experts say that the main cause of sociopathy is simply the lack of a true bond between a parent and a child in the first year or two of life.

Mr. Craig, have you ever read The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris? She doesn't have an academic position, but Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker said that the book convinced him that parenting, except in extreme cases, does not affect how children turn out.

Harris picks the whole field of childhood development apart. Basically, she says that the vast majority of the research is worthless because it does not consider genetic explanations. For example, take the finding that psychopaths tend not to have had a close bonding relationship with their parents as infants. Most developmental experts would say that's good evidence that lack of bonding causes psychopathy. But Harris' response is that it's just as plausible that the reason that the parent and child don't bond is that because the child is genetically disinclined to bond with the parent, the parent is disinclined to bond with the child, or both. The way to test which theory is correct is to look at children given up at birth and see whether they turn out like their adopted or biological parents. Also, you could take a pair of twins separated at birth and see if twins raised apart are any less similar than twins raised together. Or, you could look at biologically unrelated kids placed in the same home. With all these methods, we find absolutely no connection between parenting and how children turn out. Literally zero. With those kinds of results, I'm always skeptical about claims that a certain kind of parenting style causes a major dysfunction.

Now of course, the caveat is that most of these methods do not investigate what can happen to a child at the extremes. So you might be correct about the Russian and Romanian orphanages. However, these are very unusual circumstances. I see those who argue for nurture point to them all the time, which indicates to me that the nurturists don't have much else. This wouldn't apply to Jesse Jackson's case, however.

Finally, even if there is data besides Russian and Romanian orphanages, children adopted early being less likely to be psychopaths is also consistent with a genetic explanation. A child whose parents want to give it up for adoption and who have a home ready from the first day have less psychopathic tendencies than parents who make no plans regarding their unwanted child.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I'm not familiar with Harris though I vaguely remember hearing something recently about a book saying that most of the time we spend with kids attempting to influence them in one way or another is wasted. I basically agree with that.

I'm familiar with the trend in psychology towards nature as opposed to nurture, and I'm almost -- almost -- entirely in agreement with it. I'm familiar with the separated twin studies which prove the biological basis of IQ beyond any doubt, and I'm familiar with how eerily similar separated monozygotic twins turn out to be in their tastes, habits, and various personality characteristics. And we've all seen how kids from the same family -- i.e., virtually the exact same environment -- will turn out differently.

I'm old enough to remember how schizophrenia was once thought to be caused by "schizophrenogenic" mothers, i.e., mothers who would say "I love you" but then push their child away. That has obviously proven to be complete bull, along with a host of other Skinnerian theories.

However -- or rather, HOWEVER -- sociopathy seems to be the one personality characteristic where nurture is key. Your last paragraph makes sense, but it has the same problem that Harris et al have with the field of childhood development: they don't take the other side into account. Yes, if it were true that some people have genes which predispose them toward sociopathy, and those would be precisely the people who make no plans for their children's future, and their children inherit those "sociopathic genes" and turn out to be sociopaths themselves. But what if it IS a function of nurture, or rather, lack of nurture? Then a child who was raised in an orphanage, say, would be a sociopath, and would be less likely to bond with their own child -- and the sociopathy could be passed along that way. I agree that sociopathy can be passed along from generation to generation, but that could also happen for environmental reasons, as above.

I'm very much in the EO Wilson camp -- that we're like film negatives which have only to be put in developing fluid to emerge as we were programmed by our genes -- except on this one issue.

Anonymous said...

Harris and others argue that environment does matter, just not parental environment, except when a parent physically damages a child's brain, for example, dropping a child head first on a hard floor. More children in orphanages have bad traits because they are genetically predisposed to bad traits from their bio parents and also because they are surrounded by bad people and other bad things in orphanages. Humans evolved to model nonparent personalities and to ignore parental personality as a model.

Anonymous said...

Not that it is something to brag about, but he was born in Greenville South Carolina, not North Carolina.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you, I'll make that change.

Wodgina said...

The sociopath I know had a very small chin (non exhistent) I know facial structure isn't a definite tip off to sociopathy as Ted Bundy was handsome.

The sociopath I know also exuded a smell of trust (oxytocin?) like when being around a healthy baby. It was intoxicating to everyone I imagine and to me.

Have you found this?

John Craig said...

Wodgina --
Honestly, I've never noticed either of those things. The only correlation I've ever noticed is between Caucasian sociopaths and thin lips, which I've mentioned elsewhere. Again, as you say, sociopathy isn't determined by facial structure, and I can't think of any reasonable or logical explanation for it, it's just something I've noticed. (And I realize that even mentioning it makes me sound a little silly.)

Anonymous said...

Jessie says he desires to handle Obama testicles. “I wanna cut his nuts off”

Tommy Bennet accused Jackson of gay harassment. This video is too funny.

Jessie Jackson admits spitting in white people’s food and calls Jews hymies

Funny video of Jessie Jackson cutting off Mr. B.O.’s nuts.

Unknown said...


John Craig said...

Thank you Lee.