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.
*(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!
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.