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Oh brother, where art thou? 

Testosterone runs amuck

"First the Fat Boys break up, now this? Aw, man."

Chris Rock as Bony-T in Boomerang (1992)

This is what I immediately thought when I heard about the Rev. Jesse Jackson sticking his foot in his mouth, yet again. Attacking the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for "talking down to black folks," to such an extent that he wants to de-ball him. And on Fox.

"You know you done fucked up right?"

Bill Duke as a detective to Tyrin Turner as Caine in Menace II Society (1993)

This is the second thing that I thought. Jackson has crossed the point of no return and for what? His obsession with being in the limelight pushed him to sabotage what's left of his career as a public and relevant figure in the world community for 15 more minutes of fame, or should I say infamy. An initial critic of Barack Obama, Jackson had managed to put on a smile and shift his power and influence behind Obama's campaign. Even his son, Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Obama's national campaign co-chairman, shook his proverbial finger at him, admonishing the good reverend for his latest misdeed. It is this part of the story that is even more disturbing. In my mind, Barack is the symbolic son of Jackson and his civil rights counterparts. It was they who gave birth to this post-civil rights generation, many of whom have benefited from these advances and are doing something with them -- like running for president of the United States, in the case of Obama, and helping him to get there, in the case of Jackson Jr. To soil this attempt with such tomfoolery is sad, asinine and disheartening. Can Jackson not see the relationship between his "sons" and himself?

"Can't we all get along?"

Rodney King, during the riots of 1992

Obviously not. When a man is willing to throw his child under the bus for 15 minutes of fame, it speaks volumes about his character and his intentions. What is troubling me most is the inability of powerful black men to work together on the world stage. You've got Bobcats owner Robert L. Johnson maligning Barack Obama; the Rev. Jeremiah Wright grand standing at the expense of Obama; and Tavis Smiley throwing a tantrum about Obama's schedule. You may recall the dustup between Johnson and Smiley some years ago while both were at Black Entertainment Television. Jackson got huffy with the Rev. Al Sharpton when he suggested that he might make a run for the presidency. Now we've got Jackson, a southern Baptist minister, making vulgar remarks about Obama.

Why are these men so threatened by Barack Obama, and why are they going about undermining his election in such a perverted way? Crabs in a barrel? An inability to be truly supportive, an obsession with perceived leadership and an unwillingness to follow when needed is what ails these grown men. Testosterone runs amuck!

Perhaps they should have a celebrity death match? Perhaps they should meet in a secret location and fight it out? Perhaps they should take their penises out and measure them and spare the rest of us from this nonsense, because that's what it is. If they were women, they would be called out for behaving in this absurd manner. Since they are men, folks are not calling them out for what it is -- petty and ridiculous behavior.

If Jackson is upset about Obama's Father's Day comments, then address those comments. If he does not like Obama's "silence" on issues impacting the black community, call him out on it. Ralph Nader did and so have many others. Obama is not above reproach, and anybody running for president of the United States should be questioned and challenged. But the ways that these folks are going about it smacks of hate, envy and self-interest instead of concern for the needs of the larger community.

"No matter where I live, despite the things I give, you'll always be this way, so go 'head and hate on me, hater."

Jill Scott, lyrics from "Hate on Me"

It is truly sad that men who are in the position to mentor are choosing to contaminate this young man's historic run for presidency. How has Obama responded? Swiftly and elegantly. As they hate, Obama keeps his eyes on the prize, just like Jackson did during his historic run for the presidency. Obama obviously learned something from Jackson, and Jackson should learn something from him: grace. Maybe one day, these great men will realize that they are all on the same team, running the same race, one step at a time.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Goucher College and Editorial Director for

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