End Plantation Politics In The Black Community


Chicago politics is always dynamic and in Chicago proper, it is always Democratic. What would Chicago do if a Republican ran for mayor and won?

Downtown is flourishing with cranes in the air everywhere, and the South Side is hopeful that the Obama Presidential Library will be an economic boon that will engage and turn a community around with worldwide vision. Maybe.

But Black Chicago has lost and is losing; Black Chicago too often receives the short end of the stick. Our vote is powerful with little results.

In the real world, politics and economics are partners. The politics usually protects the economics. However, in the Black community, we are out of step. We are not playing leverage politics; we are giving the vote away.

The political figures play “Plantation Politics.” What is that? That is, grease the palms of a precious few in the community.

Some may call them leaders, or they might be elected officials or come from corporate suites or social justice communities or the guys that run the streets. But, whomever, the job is the same. The job is to keep the natives in line and to focus the vote on said politician.

The Pundits And The Puns
A lot of money will be spent in the upcoming governor’s campaign. It is already being projected as the most expensive campaign in American history for a state house.

JB Pritzker
Chris Kennedy

After all, billionaires are running, so what else would you expect other than money flowing? A dangerous underground game is being played, however, with the Black community. It is okay to have paid consultants, but they should be declared. That’s par for the course.

Incumbent Bruce Rauner

But it is not okay to have certain Black radio pundits paid, urging certain conversations negatively and destructively, to use Black voters as puns. This is attack dog politics at its finest and introduces a new dynamic to the political flavor.

The white naïve politician assumes that someone has control of the natives, control that will sway the vote. This is a very wrong assumption. One of the issues in the Black community is “control.” There is no control.

Black Chicago has a vacuum in leadership. The community is divided organically and with purpose. The divisions are the haves and the have-nots and some try to make age a factor, new school versus old school.

This is a fake division. We all respond to the “n” word. The new ones are waiting for someone to gift them power and miss their own opportunity of “get up and go” as they wait. Old school had candidates and ran elections, won campaigns and bargained their chips. New school has no chips, no candidates and no wins.

The political figures play “plantation politics” by greasing the palms of a precious few in the community.

Graphic from thyblackman.com website

The Black press is left out of this campaign picture. Plantation politics usually sends said politician to the Black press around two weeks prior to the election.

Campaigns engaging plantation politics usually bring in a solo Black who is supposed to be a miracle worker. That person plays pressman, community organizer and civic engager.

He or she escorts the politician around to functions and sets up church and quasi-community meetings for the natives. The pictures are right, the conversations flow, and the money drops in the right places.

Mayor Daley was forthright as he engaged this process. The money, the land, the favors went directly to the ministers and the ministers were the ambassadors to city hall.

It has now changed. Who’s on first? No one. Under Daley’s regime, set ministers could make calls that rallied the troops. It was effective and the mayor listened. Today the divide exists and no single force can call the summit.

Meanwhile, the TV ads are bought and mainstream media makes a fortune and are happy larks as their bottom lines are fed, with no endorsement from them on any candidate.

The ads are warm and fuzzy as candidates introduce and define themselves. As the campaigns get closer to the actual elections, the commercials are more frequent and hit hard points and play the blame game.

One campaigner bought 174 ads from a major station for $213,000 and another major station got $134,000 in ads at $1,000 per ad for a six-week period.

The Insult To The Black Press
The Black press is left out of this campaign picture. Plantation politics usually sends said politician to the Black press around two weeks prior to the election. At that time, Black press receive courtesy ads that amount to maybe a full-page ad or two, for the last weeks of the campaign efforts.

This effort, I suppose, is meant to persuade somebody somewhere. Clearly though, the Black press at any level is not taken seriously at all, given the short, small spend.

The Black press, as a body, is insulted, overlooked, minimized and dismissed for the most part. For example, the Obama presidential campaign spent a full $10,000 on the Black press. And Hillary Clinton registered a clean zero. They both assumed they had the Black vote.

This upcoming election for Illinois governor should be different. The billionaires are running and if the Black press allows plantation politics to be played, shame on us. With the new social media technology, the whole world should know by now that the whole world has really changed.

I am on a mission to end plantation politics. Lacking is the “professional” Black team, including the strategist, publicist, media buyer, street workers and social media.


The “overseers” should go home…or if they are fighting for us, they need to demonstrate they will not take the crumbs from the table. The political pundits should beware because they are being identified as paid political announcers, instead of honest righteous voices of the community.

I should hope this campaign would be on the up and up. Come clean to the Black community, no matter the party. Come with equality and plans for the rebuild of the community and economic opportunities.

Not the handsouts of the political season, but real solid economic commitment, like they have had as they run their own companies and investments.

We are living in a critical hour with critical mass. Taxes, taxes, taxes are seen as the ultimate solution for all problems. Community organizing tends to be paid political functions.

But not all of the people are fooled – the vote comes from the ground up. To ignore any sector of the community is flawed.

The governor’s race is up for grabs and I hope there will be a declaration in this election to destroy plantation politics in the Black community by both parties.

More from Hermene Hartman

The President Comes Home

Last week, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle came to town...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *