Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Pin It
Feed Feed

Jan 19, 201511:07 AMMinority Biz Report

with Sam Owens

Is ‘Justified Anger’ ready to be a leading voice on black economic development?

(page 1 of 2)

I was recently invited to participate in the “Justified Anger and Economic Development Committee.” While researching the Justified Anger Coalition, I glimpsed the machinery behind the organization’s operations. What I saw raised some questions about the politics of Justified Anger. These are my personal observations.

On supply and demand

Our newspapers have a curious economic relationship with Greater Madison’s black communities. In the wake of the groundbreaking Race to Equity Report, readers began demanding more stories on black economics. Consequently, in 2014, our newspapers began publishing more of them. Simple supply and demand economics, right? Not quite.

One of the most effective cost-cutting mechanisms for local publications is the outsourcing of content. The amorphous yet ubiquitous Justified Anger Coalition has emerged as our newspapers’ preferred wholesaler of content on black economics. Since the Justified Anger Coalition has cornered the market, it effectively functions as a monopoly. With such a substantial market share comes great power and great responsibility.

On business organization

According to a corporate records search of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ website, Justified Anger does not appear to have a formal business organization. But according to an online summary of the group, one of its purposes is to “create a coalition that would empower the Black community to define its own solutions.”

The summary further states that one of the coalition’s focus areas is economic development. In particular, the coalition seeks “to lead and advocate for policies, practices and innovations that result in family sustaining employment, entrepreneurship, and business development in the African-American community.”

As far as mission statements go, it’s hard to argue that the Justified Anger Coalition is not spot on with respect to the fundamental need to eradicate racial economic disparities in Greater Madison. However, things get a little sticky when you begin to parse the public commentary (and private behavior) concerning Justified Anger’s vision for how to get to the metaphorical mountaintop.

It appears as if the current blueprint does not envision full diversity across the cultural and economic spectrums of black communities within Madison. This has led me to question whether certain voices within black communities will (consciously or unconsciously) go unrepresented in the Justified Anger movement.

On barriers to entry

Discussions about power and privilege can be a double-edged sword, especially when analyzed through the narrow lens of black vs. white. Yes, if you compare the relative allocation of power and privilege (between blacks and whites) in Madison, the average white person is better off than the average black person. However, refusing to analyze relative power and privilege within black communities will only exacerbate the racial disparities faced by blacks in Greater Madison.

Is Justified Anger’s intermediate vision to establish a prominent black bourgeois class that will (in the long term) empower a black underclass through trickle-down economics? Or does Justified Anger have a plan for economic development that does not require the most disenfranchised blacks to continue to wait while a black middle-class buffer is established?

In a Dec. 17 editorial, Alex Gee articulates a vision for Justified Anger to create a set of favorable socioeconomic conditions for black communities in Madison. The vision includes “a new table, one at which African-Americans were seated at the head, enjoying the liberty of setting that table, choosing the china, deciding the menu, hiring the cook and inviting the guests we want to eat with. This is beginning to happen, much to my great surprise and pleasure.”

Although part of Gee’s vision is simply a desire for the black community to gain a greater share of power and privilege, it is hard to ignore the potential for making racial disparities worse. We need to carefully examine what subset of African-Americans have an ownership stake in this house/dining room, and whether certain African-Americans might be considered uninvited guests to this soiree.  

As I indicated in my previous blog post, dealing with racial disparities in Greater Madison does not usually come down to racial animus toward black communities. The real challenge is overcoming the social constructs that create systemic barriers to the accumulation of social capital.

Likewise, within the current structure of black power and privilege in Madison, it is critical to identify and confront the social constructs that create division and disparity among black individuals, families, and communities. If we do not address this inconvenient truth (that even black folks can discriminate against each other and self-segregate), then the Justified Anger movement might perpetuate a black caste system instead of economically uplifting the core subjects of the Race to Equity report.

(Continued)

Old to new | New to old
Jan 27, 2015 06:29 pm
 Posted by  CRC

Dear Sam,

Thank you for writing about the inclusion (or lack of) of the LGBT community in Justified Anger's agenda.

Regards,

Cynthia Cauthern

Mar 28, 2015 12:18 am
 Posted by  Sherri Bester

Sam, God loves you and he will show you holy love and show you holy truth more than my words or actions could ever possible explain. I believe in JUSTIFIED HOLY LOVE because all the days and all the nights of my life and near death it is JUSTIFIED HOLY LOVE THAT KEPT AND KEEPS ME BREATHING OUT THAT SAME HOLY LOVE THEREOF...I BELIEVE IN HUMANKIND HOLY JUSTIFIED LOVE TRUSTING GOD TO TEACH US TO LEARN HOW TO IN HOLY UNITY IN HOLY LOVE FORGIVE EACH OTHER OF ALL WRONG AS WE STRIVE IN HOLY LOVE TO MAKE WRONG RIGHT.LOVE IS THE GREATEST SOLUTION OF TRUTH, UNITY, PEACE, FORGIVENESS AND ALL OTHER GOOD AND RIGHT HUMAN BREATHS OF GOODNESS...I BELEIVE GOD CREATED YOU AND LOVES YOU AND HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU AND YOUR LIFE GREATER THAN WHAT YOU OR I CAN IMAGINE...SAINT AND SINNER ALIKE THAT WE ALL ARE I BELEIVE GOD LOVES US ALL EQUALLY...I BELIEIVE IT IS HIS HOLY WILL THAT WE ALL BE ABOVE ALL EXISTENCE - BE EXISTING IN HOLY LOVE THEREOF.1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Mar 28, 2015 12:19 am
 Posted by  Sherri Bester

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Add your comment:
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Pin It
Feed Feed