For me, the most interesting theme that came out of the big box wage debate was the question of who represents the black community in the city of Chicago and how Mayor Daley has co-opted a certain sector of the black leadership in the City of Chicago. The Chicago Reporter, a publication of the Community Renewal Society, reported on this issue back in 2000. Read the article here.
The article was extremely controversial and initiated a storm of protest and debate, with many detractors playing the “white outside liberal agitator” card against the Reporter and the Community Renewal Society. It’s pretty obvious to me (and to my African-American co-workers: yes I am playing the “I have a black friend card”) that the pastors are dancing with the devil for crumbs of charity instead of working for the cake of justice. It is quite disingenuous for the pastors to uniformly claim that there are “no strings attached” to the assistance. Presumably, the most political of mayors just helps certain black pastors who turn out voters and press conferences for him out of the goodness of his own heart. Right.
This quote summed up the “representative nature.” of these pastors and their churches:
“Reid, who is currently a presiding elder with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, endorsed Daley over Rush in 1999. Now Thomas wants to earn the mayor’s attention and respect, he said. He wants community members to be able to own, rather than rent, their homes, and he believes church members should have the option to move back to the area.” (emphasis added)
You mean they don’t? So.... who are you really working for?