Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Evolution of Leadership Philosophy

BOND: Has your vision changed over time? Is it the same now as it was when you were much younger?

JEALOUS: Yeah. And I mean, no — yes, it’s the same. It really hasn’t changed much. My philosophy has changed over time.

BOND: How has that changed?

JEALOUS: I’m just a much more I think tolerant person, a much more — aware of what — making a decision to pursue a certain path, to coalesce around a common goal takes from any specific individual. When I was a child, I really thought that things were quite simple. While I still — my vision for this country is a fairly simple vision for this country — elimination of barriers and increase, a sort of tightening of the social safety net. I see both— it’s a more understanding of people’s limitations when they won’t join me, and I’m also more aware of the fact that people — that people who are wrong in like, nine out of ten things are often right and willing to join you for that one out of ten.

I had an experience recently with an executive and we were talking about getting his company to change its policies with regard to formerly incarcerated people in their employment and he said to me, “Well, you know, if you get convicted, we take away your right to vote and that’s okay. But if we take away the ability for you to work, that’s outrageous.” I didn’t agree with him on both points, right? I think both are outrageous, but if he’s willing to work with me on the latter, we don’t have to talk about the former ever again. You know? I’ll find some other set of allies for that one. I wasn’t that way when I was a kid. I would cut you off at the first statement. But now my philosophy I guess has matured and it’s basically, look, the goal is what’s important, the team is going to change as we change goals, and that’s quite all right.