Black Leaders Have ‘Fair Share’ Fears

Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times, May 9, 2011

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel may have swept every African-American ward in Chicago, but so far, his incoming mayoral cabinet is “not black enough.”

At least that’s the early verdict from some veteran Chicago City Council members. It didn’t take long. We are still a long way from singing “Kumbaya” in Chicago.

Last week, after Emanuel announced his public safety team, several black aldermen complained to the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman that the mayor-elect was not appointing African Americans to his inner circle.

Emanuel’s posse will be led by three white men: Garry McCarthy is the city’s new top cop and Gary Schenkel will lead the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Current Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff, appointed last year by Mayor Daley, will stay on.

“Nobody is black at the top. At least Mayor Daley did have some African Americans around him. It appears now that Mayor Emanuel has no blacks around him,” South Side Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) told the Sun-Times.

Even in Chicago, it seems a bit early for this kind of kvetching. Emanuel has many more appointments to make. And he has named a black educator, Jean Claude Bri¬zard, the Chicago Public Schools’ CEO. No one has more at stake in the city’s schools than black folks.

For some, even Brizard doesn’t make the cut because was born in Haiti. (The ugly divide between his countrymen and African Americans is an old bit of dirty laundry I’ll save for another column.)


While she is willing to “give his choices a chance,” Dowell [3rd Wark Ald. Pat Dowell] told me that Emanuel has “overlooked” the city’s richly diverse professional pool of blacks and Latinos for the city’s top operational jobs. “There are not enough of them being named to manage the nuts and bolts, make decisions, decide how revenues will be distributed,” she said.

At the news conference to announce his public safety team, Emanuel responded that he is focused on a “diversity of experience and background,” rather than race. “I want people of diverse experience and I want people who can deliver results,” he said.


While black and Latino elected officials are scrambling to kiss the ring, many are privately wary that their “people” won’t get their “fair share” of appointments, and even more important, the jobs and resources that emanate from City Hall.

Ethnic and racial politics are embedded in the DNA of big-city governing. Interest groups–and the mayors who appoint them–have long played racial “gotcha” politics with top appointments. Mayors–and their enemies–keep excruciatingly close tabs on the racial composition of their Cabinets and other top appointments to ancillary agencies and boards and commissions. Hence, black/white or black/Latino “teams” are transparently common, especially in areas like education, human services and police services.

Optics are key. Hence, the three press secretaries who fronted for Daley over his 21 years in office were all African American.



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12 Responses to “Black Leaders Have ‘Fair Share’ Fears” Subscribe

  1. Nick May 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Have blacks ever wondered if they pay their “fair share” of taxes?

  2. sbuffalonative May 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Remember when NY Gov. Cuomo was charged with the same offense?

    “Not black enough”!

    White schools and white neighborhoods are seen as ‘not black enough’.

    Funny how when a school or neighborhood IS ‘black enough’, blacks do everything they can to get out.

  3. Alisa May 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Rahm Emanuel was accused of not including enough blacks by black Democrats when he was leading the Democrats’ 2006 Congressional election efforts.

    The problem is, whatever his faults, Emanuel a) likes to succeed, b) is smart and knows how to do so. At the end of the day this doesn’t allow for “diversity”.

  4. BO_Bill May 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    The men who founded this country proved that they were capable of self-government.

    Modern urban populations continuously prove that they are either not capable of or willing to self-govern. Take any large city and remove the outside sources of government funding that provide food, housing, and everything else to sustain life and you have… Kaboom.

    Our betters seek to impose a Central-American style oligarchy over us by dumbing down and feminizing the electorate, and have largely succeeded in Chicago, for the time being. The difference between Chicago and Central America is that, in Central America, people are compelled to work in exchange for life’s basics. Workers toil in the fields or the machidora for $3/day, which is enough to buy rice, beans, and sometimes chicken for their families. If, say, the dollar was to lose its reserve currency status and the federal government lost its ability to create wealth out of thin air, the populations of Central America would probably be OK.

  5. rjp May 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    This city is so full of race hustlers it will probably be the reason I eventually move.

    I was messing around one doing some research and came up with something like 10,000 501(c)3’s in the City of Chicago with an very high percentage being locate in ghetto neighborhoods where the population drops off way under the city average.

    Chicago is broke. It has been race hustled into a Detroit that hasn’t fallen yet. In just the last week it has opened up a new public library branch and a home for pregnant teens while many of the city’s major street are in worse shape than dirt roads in West Virginia.

    I can’t stand to watch the news here anymore. Why do I want to watch a team of blacks, hispanics, and homosexuals doing the news? Whites doing Chicago news is rare, even rarer is one under the age of 45.

    Rahm know how much grift he call haul off over a few terms as mayor, and he knows it pays better than investment banking.

  6. Middle American Jew May 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    How does one define the term “fair share” as it is used in the above piece? It sounds more like a “whining quota” to me.

    Considering the absolutely unfathomable amount of crime, destruction, and waste of money brought down on Chicago by a population of uncivilized blacks over the years, my guess is that the “fair share” should be zero.

    The reason for perpetual state of crisis among Chicago’s blacks is evident in this article. As I see it, the none-too-bright blacks function as children. They are ignorant of policy or intellect and see only skin color. Hence, they rush to support candidates or officials based on how they look despite their being either corrupt or incompetent or both. They act against their own interests as their “leaders” fail them.

    Instead of voting or backing those who offer a solution they wind up behind those who only worsen the problem. You’d think after 60 years they might recognize this – especially now when upwards of 40 blacks are shot every summer weekend in their own “communities.” And those are just the so-called official numbers.

    It highlights the basic inability of blacks to reason through a problem(s) and devise a solution. Worse, it plays out the same way in inner cities across the US, and on a much larger scale in Africa.

    In the end, I blame the liberal white enablers who years ago created this anti-democracy monster within a democracy. And now, those same people lack the very courage to confront the beast they created, the beast that will ultimately eat them.

  7. Liberal Larry May 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    We are all exactly the same. Same ability, same IQ, so what does it matter how many blacks there are? If a black president can run a mostly white country, a group of whites can run a mostly white city….right?

  8. Jeff May 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    As 12.5% of the population blacks should not be more than 12.5% of the workforce.

    This pastormanning on youtube is a black who sets blacks straight, he pulls no punches and is worth seeing, at least one video?

  9. SKIP May 12, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    ““I want people of diverse experience and I want people who can deliver results,” he said”

    OH HELL!! here comes that “disparate impact on blacks” thing now. I tell you again, the cities up North are looking like the cities in Terry Brooks’ novels of “the Word and the Void” filled with evil ‘once men’ demons determined to destroy humanity.

  10. Alexandra May 12, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    I assume that by “fair share” blacks really mean all for them and none for anyone else.

  11. Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    We are still a long way from singing “Kumbaya” in Chicago.

    Or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

  12. Get Real May 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented in government sector jobs throughout Chicago and Cook County. The complaints in the article relate to upper management positions, but the bureaucracy in Chicago is loaded with black employees which is why nothing seems to work.