The Pawns of Politics Where Is My Patronage?

The Pawns of Politics Where Is My Patronage?

by November 23, 2014

john travis holt in atlanta GAEducate, organize and mobilize: For more than a year leading up to the recently completed General Elections, I’ve written about Voter Suppression, gerrymandering, the Black vote and voters.  The good news from the General Election, if there is any, is that the level of participation by Black voters during this midterm was about what it was during the 2010 midterm.  The bad news is that our level of participation was far less than it should have been given the seriousness of the issues that confront us as a people and a community.  To get ahead in America, Black voters must vote in much greater numbers and demand an equitable return when Black supported candidates win.

Going forward, I will write about the intersection of politics and economics and its impact on Black voters, businesses and communities.  Because of the expansion of my focus, much of what I cover will evolve in scope and perspective.  I trust that our readers will participate in this project by sharing ideas, experiences and comments.  When addressing Black issues I try to instill an understanding of our need to educate, organize and mobilize for self and community empowerment.  It is my contention that the status quo exemplifies our failure to make reasonable progress in building businesses and communities.  Examples of such failures can easily be seen in the lack of substantial Black businesses, the failure of too many of our children to do well in school and the disproportionate number of Black men in prisons and dying in the streets.    

As pawns are in chess, Black voters in politics are relegated to the bottom of the barrel the same way they are in the game of life.  Understanding pawns in the game of chess and the game of life will help in understanding pawns in politics.  In chess, pawns are the least important piece in the game.  Politics is an important component of the game of life and impacts all of us whether we know it or not and whether or not we have developed basic rules for engagement.  Although pawns are the most numerous and weakest pieces on the chess board they can increase their power under special circumstances. 

Black voters are a lot like pawns in the game of politics and life.  Without proper planning, Black voters continue to create power and continue to be left out or short changed when the patronage from that power is doled out.  In America, elected officials control virtually every aspect of our lives, including our economic well-being or lack thereof.  When we fail to hold our elected officials accountable in exchange for our support, they have no incentive to properly include Black voters, businesses and communities in their patronage and use it with constituents that know enough to hold them accountable.  The fact is that the overwhelming majority of elected officials know that patronage and accountability are rules of the game and many look forward to playing by them.  However, if we don’t demand economic reciprocity for our support we don’t get it.

Back in September, I wrote an article entitled Voter Suppression: Creating Black Wealth.”  The impetus for that article was an article written by Earl G. Graves, Sr., Publisher of Black Enterprise.  The title of his article was “Wake Up! Re-engage in the Battle for Opportunity.”  He wrote that Black Leaders seem to have forgotten that economic reciprocity is only supplied in response to our consistent and resolutely communicating that it is our absolute expectations.  I consider myself one of those leaders that have failed to demand and deliver economic reciprocity to Black voters and communities.

Going forward, I will be writing to stir debate and to help formulate suggestions that will lead to more job and wealth creation opportunities in Black businesses and communities.  I decided to engage as many Black chambers of commerce as possible in an ongoing, open dialogue on this issue.  I have a nationwide database of Black chambers and will share my articles with them and invite their comments.  The first chamber that I’ve discussed voting your economics with was the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce.  Next week I plan to share a bit of my discussion with Will Peters, Chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber.

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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on politics and economics.  To support our efforts to marry our politics and economics please “Like” and follow us at  “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website  Comments can also be sent to Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow our above-referenced recommendations. •

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