New York Times Hit Piece On Majora Carter Is Typical Anti-Black Woman Haterade

You’d think the geniuses at the Times would’ve come up with something more original than Derailing For Dummies lite in their attack against Eco-Strategist Majora Carter, but no, they were too lazy to offer anything beyond paint-it-by-numbers innuendo and the written equivalent of throwing rocks and hiding. It’s 2013. I’ve read more engaging arguments in the comment section of tv show recaps! L-a-Z-y.

I actually laughed as I read their tabloid fodder. First of all, is this what’s representative of journalism today? They’re never going to see the revenue stream behind their paywall when they have a white woman editor and Asian writer pull Mean Girl high school antics to derail the work of an effective black woman activist. Three cheers for “feminism” as the gender-based racism train continues.

Hero of the Bronx Is Now Accused of Betraying It

*(Note “hero” is the male adjective)

Ms. Carter’s meteoric rise also made her a polarizing figure. Many former allies and neighbors say that Ms. Carter trades on the credibility she built in the Bronx, while no longer representing its interests….In a phone interview, Ms. Carter insisted that she had never stopped working to support the South Bronx. She said she would have supported FreshDirect even if she was not paid, saying that she had never been anti-business and that the company would create jobs, provide access to healthy foods, and promote local food-based businesses. “I thought that ultimately they would be able to provide a net benefit to the community,” Ms. Carter said.

She addressed the criticism by ticking off some of her many honors and noting her status as a “thought leader.” Her husband, James Chase — who tends to Ms. Carter’s public image as a vice president of her consulting firm — called charges that she was financially motivated “revolting.”

The criticisms even extended personally to Ms. Carter. Neighbors had long gossiped that she spent more time at her husband’s 1,500-square-foot, rent-stabilized loft in TriBeCa than at her own home in Hunts Point. That only changed, they said, shortly before she was hired by FreshDirect.

We’ve briefly discussed Ms. Carter’s work way back in 2009, when a certain self-aggrandizing member of the Obama administration left in a cloud of controversy. At the time I wondered why Ms. Carter hadn’t originally been tapped for the position while simultaneously concluding it was probably better that she had not.

Indeed, you could be putting in your 10,000 hours only to find others who had not worked as long or with equal dedication receive accolades, “Leaned In” by hijacking, while you are passed over with the expectation that just being there toiling away is good enough.

There’s A Reason Why I Focus So Much On Inspiring & Aspirational Messaging

We’re surrounded by %$#@ everyday. All day. I don’t want to talk about it. The black dead zones. The increase in poverty. The war on women. I also don’t want to pretend that positive thinking alone will net us a paradise. It doesn’t! I do want to survey more important trends, discuss their impact and explore opportunities while keeping an eye on solutions.

A quick background on Ms. Carter. She grew up one of ten in the South Bronx. Insert every negative social statistic and see what she avoided or survived to become a force to reckoned with. Excellence is inspirational. Deciding you are special when circumstances and people surrounding you appear to dictate otherwise is a heavy shackle to get rid of. If you do it successfully, you are FREE FREE FREE!

So imagine the horror of your “peers” as your work has been quietly noted by people of influence, who are prepared to not only acknowledge your contributions but reward it in a high profile way. They take you seriously and respect you beyond riding popularity waves.

It doesn’t take long for the Bitter Bettys (male and female, professional and personal), fueled by their underlying hostility to gripe, misinform and attempt to sabotage your reputation and work. Of course they only do this if you also have integrity and influence. They themselves can’t claim to be your equal let alone your better. Their watered down activities, lack of credibility beyond a few moments and bandwagon-jumping failed to give them the upper hand in being the next “go-to” representative. To them their only response is destruction, not coalitions.

People like that were always competitors and saboteurs, even if they pretended otherwise. They would never be true allies if it meant letting you shine. Typical crabs in a barrel.

The list of her “offenses” would be laughable, except their twisted opposition is very real:

How dare Majora Carter be good at what she does.
How dare she charge for her services.
How dare she live with her husband. In TriBeCa..eww white affluent people live there. So does Beyonce and her husband, who brags about his proximity to Robert DeNiro in a song…but somehow it’s just so wrong for some black woman to live well.
How dare she be fit and attractive and articulate and happily married!

THE OTHER SLANT: Eco-Strategist Majora Carter Calls Her New York Times Profile Racist and Sexist

I don’t think that I’d be getting any of these criticisms if I weren’t a black woman who was born poor. Those are my cardinal sins. But because I am successful, I must be inauthentic. I find that to be so racist. It’s like, How dare I rise above my rank and actually do the things that I’ve done? How dare I stand next to the big boys of all colors with a smile on my face and get paid? I don’t think that being fairly attractive works in my favor here either, which is really kind of pathetic, but life goes on. I thought the mega-watt smile or whatever the Times called my smile was just hilarious. Yeah, I was born with good teeth. Sorry…

Do I have to be a single mom on welfare who looks like she lives in a food desert to be considered “authentic”? What does that say to young people in our community? I’m working to create the infrastructure that’s going to make you understand that this could become a better place for you to be. I’m saying, “You know, you don’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one.”  Right now, we are taught that anybody with any wherewithal is gonna get the hell out of Dodge.

While I don’t agree masses of black women should remain in deteriorated areas or hold onto save alla our people mentalities, there’s nothing wrong with individuals with resources being rewarded for being the exception.  I’m surprised this piece of yellow journalism (oops) resisted the urge to mention that Ms. Carter (not to be confused with Mrs. Carter) has a white husband. They talked about her demeanor, her appearance, her confidence and everything else. Why not go all in, jealous Bettys?

To them women like Majora Carter are a threat. She doesn’t occupy the “black woman’s” place. How many examples of backhanded compliments and outright lying stories about successful black women who don’t play the Mammy/Mule role have we discussed — and debunked here over the years?

Her detractors won’t gain prominence by diminishing hers. Very few companies offer to work in blighted areas despite tax breaks. I say if you can find a grocery delivery service that accepts SNAP/TANF/Food Stamps, don’t fight them. The sourpusses at the NYT aren’t fooling anyone either. Not even the denial of their obvious denigration is original.

More from Slant:

The Times quoted Eddie Bautista, the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, talking about the “breathtaking ironies” between you accusing activists of accepting money from companies who’ve harmfully impacted the community and you receiving a consulting fee from FreshDirect.

I thought his accusation was simplistic. Look, he’s an environmental justice activist. The bulk of their work is about protesting stuff. So in that regard, I guess I was never a very good environmental justice activist because I always focused on developing solutions to problems.  It seemed really silly to separate the environment from the economics of the situation, and I wanted to find ways that meaningfully brought the two of those things together in the service of our community. And when I kicked the tires of FreshDirect what I saw was a company’s willingness to engage with the community. And I thought with the right folks on the ground, they could develop the kind of public-private partnerships with FreshDirect that would ultimately support our community. That’s what I looked at. Look, we live in a capitalist society and I don’t think that we are going to change things with only the power of the people. I’m sorry, but the non-profit industrial complex that supports the groups that have been attacking me is not going to be there to support the economic well-being of the people on the ground. It’s not entirely their job, so I looked for ways to create the partnerships that will support people on the ground. That’s what I’m concerned about.

Ms. Carter is focused on long-term results, not rhetoric.If her critics had any evidence of wrongdoing, trust me they’d use it. And if this seems like an isolated incident or not a big deal to you, last week Bill Gates decidedly attacked economist Dr. Dambisa Moyo because her position on how “aid” to Africa hasn’t helped goes against his assessment of a “superior” solution. Poverty pimping, rescue missions for profit and keeping welfare nations on deathwatch (Zimbabwe has a $200 bank account) helps Western countries and corporate interests alike stay in control you know.

13 comments to New York Times Hit Piece On Majora Carter Is Typical Anti-Black Woman Haterade

  • Monxo Lopez

    Faith, I AM Monxo Lopez. Ask for me around Mott Haven. People know who I am. I do not hide. I have been living in Mott Haven for 10 years now. Look for me on twitter also. I am around and willing do discuss freely (as in free no $) about real issues. I have the suspicion though, that you do know who I am…

    Your racism confounds me. Me replying right now is nothing other than an act of faith!

    I don't know where you get that I might not live in the South Bronx! Ha ha ha. An 'act of transference', perhaps?

    I am certainly NOT jealous of anybody living in Manhattan!!! I LOVE the South Bronx! Ha ha ha. For you to say that is offensive. Why should I be jealous? Why? Why would I want to leave a vibrant, multi-ethnic, tight knitted community like the South Bronx? Maybe you are operating from the very stereotypes that Majora exploits to make money.

    Faith, listen, as you will see, I am a proud member of South Bronx Unite. I don't hide it. And as I previously said, I admit my personal disliking of Majora…still, the issue here is not Ms. Carter, but her unethical and unenvironmental (while using her 'green' credentials) support of FreshDirect's truck intensive business to move to an area where she does not live. If you were living, say, in Sunset Park, I would NEVER dare to propose anything for your area, because that is up for Sunset Park residents to decide. Specially if we were talking about a truck-intensive business coming to an area plagued with 8 times the national asthma rate. Obviously, you seem to not care about any of us, or our lungs, but about defending Majora, or perhaps even more creepy: it seems you are interested in using the unveiling of Majora's hypocrisy to rehash and retell your tired, simplistic and boring stories about gender and race discrimination. These are really existing issues, and very complex ones. Sadly, your take on them does not advance the cause of women and of minorities of color, but the opposite. Your simple take on race and gender probably make people tune off next time they hear someone talk about race and gender, because they might assume all race and gender writers will be as sloppy, opportunistic and illogical as you are being here.

    As a father of a Puerto Rican baby girl, and husband of an incredible Puerto Rican woman, I find your race and gender baiting not only offensive but counter-productive to the real issues women and minorities have to face on a daily basis. Majora's case is not one of those. My father was black…but he would have never dare to attribute any criticism of himself or his actions, or any difficulty he might have experience on racism as a first explanation, which is what you are doing. They criticize Majora….Majora is black and a woman…they surely are criticizing her because of her gender and race! Wow….

    About me being a source for the Times article (or maybe being the editor or the writer!) I am not even quoted on the Times article!!! Where do you get the crazy idea I am behind it? Are you paranoid or what?

    Your responses just confirm one thing: your illiberal, sloppy and intolerant attitude. You don't even do a good job of defending Majora, you are just paranoid and illogical. You remind me of those smart but lazy college students I have had that get a very shallow understanding of a serious idea, and with just that fly off to make a revolution. Obviously to a person they fail and burn.

    Again, read and inform yourself properly before wasting your time writing non-sense. Cornell West, Taylor Branch, Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, the great Bayard Rustin, Aimé Cesaire, Edward Said, Susan Sontag, Judith Butler, Emma Goldman…chose at least two of them authors, and read at least one of their books FULLY (we are talking about just two books!). Then, and only then, will you be ready to argue with me -still under very disadvantageous conditions for you- but at least with one or two smart ideas to talk about knowledgeably.

    Peace, Monxo Lopez

  • Faith,

    I'd be surprised if this "Monxo Lopez" individual is somebody who actually lives in that neighborhood.

    In fact, I would be surprised if this "Monxo Lopez" is somebody OTHER than either the white editor and/or the Asian journalist who did that hit piece on Ms. Carter (or somebody affiliated with them). There's no way for us to know. Nevertheless, it's been my observation that what passes for modern journalism is filled with prima donnas. They don't react well to readers choosing not to buy into their hit pieces.

  • itsmeak

    Soryy Faith I apologize but is that good ol' Natalie Merchant from 10,000 Maniacs in that 'Jealousy' vid??

  • Monxo Lopez

    I am supposed to be writing my thesis, but this is just too much. And given that you obviously took so much time writing all the unfounded stuff to be read above, I think that you at least deserve a reasoned reply.

    Your writing smacks of sloppy post-modern, post-colonial, victim-hood discourses. Yes, I am one of those critical of Majora Carter, not because she is black or a woman, God forbid, but because Majora ceased to be a force for concrete positive change in the South Bronx years ago, while she still loves to use her hood credentials to make money. So, what is wrong about loving money and making money? Nothing!!! What is wrong about a black woman loving and making money? NOTHING!!!! Hurray! The problem is that in the SPECIFIC CASE of FreshDirect Majora is making money on the lungs of the residents of an area she just does not live in, and that she ceased to ‘represent’ many years ago. In other words, she is getting paid to help a truck-intensive company to move to MY backyard.

    She claims that she has considered both the cons and pros of FreshDirect. Yet, the fact is that she was originally opposed to the project. There are tweets by her about it. She changed her tune when she started to get paid. This has nothing to do with Majora’s gender or the color of her skin. She is obviously a very smart person, skillful, and has -hard to say given my visceral dislike of her- an impressive talent for coming up with cool ideas. But my dislike of her is visceral -I have to admit- because she is getting paid to support a project that will significantly raise the chances of my 5 month old baby girl getting asthma…and you know why is it relevant that she does not live here?: because she is advocating for US to take risks that she is not willing to take herself. She is an armchair risk-taker. That’s a very easy thing to do.

    I encourage you to do some research about the FreshDirect issue not only because it is a rich and deep example of the South Bronx’s struggle for environmental justice, but also because it presents a transparent example of how Majora is not what she used to be. To be frank, I don’t know if she was ever that good for this community. I speak only from my personal experience, and my personal experience tells me to things: a) that she has a lot of honors, won prizes and accolades, and b) that in the 10 years that I have lived in the South Bronx I have NEVER seen Majora do anything constructive for the Mott Haven area (where FreshDirect wants to relocate). In ten years I have HEARD her name lots of time, but I have never seen her once defend or fight for the rights and quality of life of the people of this neighborhood. As far as her accolades and honors: good for her. She probably deserves most of them, but they might also mean that she is very good at getting accolades (just like getting high SAT scores does not prove you are smart, but only that you are a good SAT exam taker).

    -Majora is good at she does: and that is mostly SELF-Promotion. Good? Bad? I do not care until her self-promotion and greed conflict with my lungs and my baby’s lungs.

    -Majora charges for her services: she has every right to it. still, she cannot claim to represent ‘the community’, when she claimed in Slate that South Bronx Unite’s rep was not allowed in her office because he looked like a methadone user! And she cannot claim to represent the community when she asks what she believes was a methadone user $500 for a single meeting. she is not a fool. She knows and knew Mychal Johnson back then. The South Bronx is not that big. She was just pricing herself out of the job…although he did not went there to hire her, but to talk with her and exchange info. And she KNEW that.

    -She lives in Tribeca: what a BORE!!! That the biggest sin there! But then again, if she is not gonna take the fumes she should refrain from advocating they come to my streets. Don’t you think?

    -Fit, happily married, attractive: WHATEVER!!!! So irrelevant to any serious discussion. PLEASE.

    It seems you are a smart articulate being. I don’t know if you are white, black, brown, gay, straight, woman, man, a genii, an elf….PLEASE, inform yourself a little bit better before writing stuff like this.

    At least that ‘white editor’ and the ‘Asian’ journalist (you do not even mention their names, how rude and low of you) gave Majora a chance to speak. You didn’t even do that. But, then again, who are you to talk about this?

    Who are you?

    Respectfull, Monxo Lopez

  • […] after the post on Majora Carter and Dr. Dambisa Moyo, I’ve been getting nonsensical messages from some disgruntled persons who have nothing of […]