Rev. Jesse Jackson On Predominantly White Schools With Majority Black Athletes: ‘We’ve Gone From Picking Cotton Balls to Picking Footballs’

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Rev. Jesse Jackson delivers remarks at The Life Center Church, in Eatonville, Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Jackson was the keynote speaker at a workshop at the church on changes in state voting laws passed by the Florida legislature earlier this year. Jackson is on a two-day tour of the central Florida I-4 corridor to protest the changes. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) newsgate ID# B581432216Z.1
Rev. Jesse Jackson (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

In an interview with Seattle radio station 88.5 and KUOW Public Radio, Jackson talks about the racial issues plaguing the country. The station is located on the University of Washington campus, where only 3.5 percent of the student’s population is Black but the basketball team and football team are both over 50 percent Black. The numbers further allude to the idea that the only way a Black person can get into the college is if they play sports.

Jackson draws a comparison between this trend and slavery because Blacks bring in the most revenue for universities, while being poorly misrepresented. He believes that “we have been cherry-picked to generate resources and generate imagery.”

“We’ve gone from picking cotton balls to picking footballs,” he said.

Jackson added, “We are as capable, if given the same scholarship support in science, technology, engineering and math as we are in football, basketball and track.

“We want to be part of the upper growth of our society,” he continued. “We stand to grow and get better when the competition is fairer.”

The interview highlights many of his crusades over the years. One big issue is the violence in Chicago.

“In Chicago right now, for example, you have a policeman who shot a kid 16 times,” Jackson said. “Nine police officers saw it and never gave him a bad report. And they suppressed a tape for 13 months, and this is the 18th infraction of this one policeman.”

The violence in the city is worst than any violence in Paris or Beirut but the powers that be in the United States don’t not care about solving it. The lives lost are not a concern unless it is related to terror or the victims are white, Jackson believes.

Jackson is still committed to racial progress in this country and also reveals his support for Black Lives Matter and the student protests on college campuses.

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