The Power of Exclusion: Dismantling the “Good Ol’ Boys” Networkby Peter Grear, GreaterDiversity.com February 21, 2018
The struggle for economic equity in America for people of color has a long and disappointing history. The quest starts in 1619 when Black slaves were first brought to America. Many forms of exclusion have been imposed upon Blacks in many different areas of society; however the most damaging form of exclusion has been economic exclusion.
The historical exclusion of people of color has always been implemented and enforced by the so called “Good Ol’Boys networks.” These networks have controlled private and public economic participation since the founding of America. They exercise their power and influence in both private and public circles that continue to marginalize and exclude Black participation.
Black lawmakers and people in general have always tried, without success, to dismantle the system of economic exclusion and inequality by any and all means. To succeed in their efforts, it is necessary to chart the history of exclusion, its power and its persistence. It is also necessary to highlight the historical and current responses of proponents of economic equity.
To understand the power of exclusion it is important to know and to understand the “Doctrine of Exclusion.” This is a subject that I’ve written on several times before. (1). In prior articles as I do herein, I’ve referenced the Doctrine of Exclusion as it continues to serve as the basis of powerful economic exploitation and exclusion of people of color. As used in my articles, doctrine is defined as a stated principle or set of belief held and taught by a church, political party or other group. Starting in the early 1600s up through the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the “Jim Crow” era from around 1870 to 1954, the doctrine was promoted by white churches, political parties and other white organizations that controlled America.
To have any chance of dismantling the system of inequality and economic exclusion that we face, our commitment must exceed the commitment of those sworn to enforce it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re there yet and to a great degree, it is because we don’t fully understand the power of exclusion and how it continues to evolve and disguise itself after nearly 400 years.
In 1638 the Maryland Colony issued a public edict encouraging the separation of the races that evolved and became the public policy of America. The edict became known as the “Doctrine of Exclusion.” The edict stated that, “Neither the existing black population, their descendants nor any other blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of white society.” Eventually other colonies picked up the edict and passed their own laws that collectively became known as the Slave Codes of 1705. From 1638 to now this doctrine has been the guiding principle of the Good Ol’Boys networks.
Black lawmakers demand “fair share” and equal opportunity for people and communities of color when public money is being spent. (2 for video of lawmakers arguing for fair share). With nearly 700 Black elected officials in North Carolina this argument should be had on public bodies all over our state. Evolving this effort will lead to systemic change and result in the creation of many business opportunities for Historically Underutilized Business (HUBs). But make no mistake, the strategies of the proponents will change, but their goals will not.
Our communities and lawmakers have to understand the powers arrayed against them if they’re going to successfully lead efforts to overcome them. That being said, promoting economic equity requires a constant reference to the powers of exclusion in order to adapt our efforts to their constantly changing, ongoing efforts to marginalize and exploit people of color.
I do public presentations on economic equity and voting rights on a fairly regular basis. I always refer to the Doctrine of Exclusion to help explain the current economic condition of our communities and the necessary role of voting in addressing it. In the not too distant future I plan to show and lead a discussion on the video referenced herein at a public meeting.
Again, it must be remembered that the goals, objectives and commitment of the proponents of exclusion have been consistent for nearly 400 years. But again the means of deception change with the times. The dialogue of the Pitt County Board of Education on the issue of Black and other minorities’ participation in opportunities created by public spending exemplifies the necessity of our struggle for equal opportunity.
To defeat the power of exclusion in public spending opponents must be able to recognize it when they see it. Then the nearly 700 Black elected officials should initiate the discussion of the very same issue with their public bodies as was initiated with the Pitt County Board of Education.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us atwww.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.