One Family, Two Sides of the Movement

Twins find themselves on opposite sides of the Occupy Wall Street debate.

Posted: 10/25/2011 01:37 PM EDT
Filed Under Occupy Wall Street

Twins Jill Carty, left, and Nicole Carty

Twins Jill Carty, left, and Nicole Carty (Photo: Bryan Bedder/The Daily)

Back in the late 19th century, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington were two of America’s most outspoken Black leaders, but each stood on opposite ends of the spectrum with their ideas about how African-Americans should confront the problems of racism and segregation.

DuBois advocated for civil rights and “agitation” of the status quo while Washington told Blacks to hunker down amid segregation and work hard to find equality through economic prosperity. The ongoing debate between the two men was spirited enough to capture the attention of the entire nation — but imagine how intense it would have been if they had been related?

Now in 2011, amid the Occupy Wall Street crowds, news outlet The Daily found a set of twins that have similarly divergent ideas: one is working her hardest to break into the one percent and the other is among the 99 percent leading the charge against the moneyed elite.

Jill and Nicole Carty are children of immigrants from the Caribbean and both have degrees from Ivy League universities; Nicole has a degree in sociology from Brown University, and Jill has degrees in international studies and business from the University of Pennsylvania, but the similarities stop there.

Nicole was moved to join the Occupy Wall Street movement after seeing a video of female protesters being pepper sprayed by police, according to The Daily. She used to be an online content manager, but she now spends her time as member of the protest’s facilitation committee, allocating resources and helping to steer the leaderless movement.

While the Occupy Wall Street protests are largely seen as belonging to America’s younger generation, 23-year-old Jill, who works as a consultant at a major financial services firm, told The Daily that she doesn’t share the same vision as the crowds.

“It’s misplaced passion,” said Jill of her sister’s devotion to the struggle. “She could be even more powerful if she worked in economics, using the tools of Wall Street to fight back.”

Jill said that she is not oblivious to the problem inherent in the nation’s political and financial systems, but she favors a libertarian approach to politics that emphasizes a laissez-faire government that stays away from business interests.

“The problem is not that corporations are buying politicians, it’s that politicians are worth buying,” Jill said. “My sister says the corporations need to get out of government. But I would say government needs to get out of a lot of things.”

Still, Nicole, the older of the two by five minutes, believes that ideas like her sister’s are a part of a delusional “false consciousness” sweeping American culture. An idea that harks back to slavery, when poor whites who had little more than slaves identified with rich plantation owners.

“That’s what’s going on right now,” said Nicole. “Many Americans still believe they will eventually attain great economic success, even though all the odds are against it.”