Most people base their opinion about Jesse Jackson's character entirely upon his personal qualities. But he is also a product of the historical events of his time, and the institutional forces are at least as influential as the personal ones. Jesse Jackson's self-confidence was gauged by one observer, Robert Tucker, who said that Jackson not only believes in God but firmly believes that God believes in him. Jackson was far better able to deal with the southern hierarchical power structure in Chattanooga, and they with him, than with the more pluralistic, open, and competitive power structures in the northern and western cities. There are two common approaches to judging black politics and politicians. One approach sees black politics as totally different from mainstream politics. The other approach is to treat black politics as merely an extreme case of ethnic group politics and thus to overlook its own intrinsically important features.