Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Things We Miss

Not too long ago, The Root wrote an article comparing the Tea Party movement to the Black Panther Party.

The author of the piece performed some impressive mental gymnastics to create the link between the two groups, including glossing over the racial discrimination and outright evil that was the impetus for the creation of the Black Panther Party. Instead, he focused on both groups' violent rhetoric, their fringe status and their unrelenting animus towards the federal government.

While the Black Panther Party had obvious socialist leanings that would seem to be the anti-thesis of what the Tea Party celebrates, the author explained that away by noting that the Panthers were in favor of disbanding many aspects of the federal government. Of course, that was because the federal government was largely hostile towards the interests of African Americans and were treating black folks as second-class citizens, but hey, it's no fun to let salient facts get in the way of incendiary arguments.

The thrust of the piece seemed to be that the Panthers loved guns, just like the Tea Party loves guns. Of course, that thesis ignores the fact that the Panthers embraced the arming of the black community in a response to the violent and corrupt tactics of the police and vigilante whites. The piece also ignored the fact that the white power structure worked tirelessly to change laws to make it more difficult for the Panthers to remain armed, In comparison, Tea Party members are arming themselves because they are unhappy, not because they are truly oppressed, and nobody is doing anything to short circuit their right to arm.

However, I don't want to just blast the piece's author because I think he does ask an important question: What if the Tea Party looked like the Black Panther party?

I think it's safe to say that these rallies where assault rifles are openly toted and protesters sidle up to lawmakers to yell and scream would have a different outcome. Maybe something resembling what happened at Kent State, or even worse, what happened at Jackson State University in 1970.

History tells us that when the Black Panthers exercised the exact same right as folks in the Tea Party, they were systematically hunted down and executed or imprisoned by government agencies. History tells us that the federal government used tactics typically reserved for foreign countries right here against black folks on American soil.

History tells us that there were no attempts to figure out if the concerns of the Panther party were legit, or whether they deserved to be included in the political mainstream. Even without openly discussing political assassinations the Panthers were deemed a threat in need of deadly force. That's right, the Panthers and their sympathizers were identified as threats to national security and dealt with accordingly.

I'm surprised the author of The Root's piece missed those important salient facts from history in his comparison.

Then again, it's amazing what we miss when we're trying to make dishonest and ridiculous points.


Dirty Red said...

Good damn post.
Tea-Baggers and Black Panthers should not even be mentioned in the same sentence. Whoever wrote that shit needs his ass whooped.

Redbonegirl97 said...

I see we are going though some changes.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Big Man said...

Thanks Red, and I agree.

Tiffany, just trying something new for a while, what's the verdict?

Deacon Blue said...

I like the new layout, myself.

The blog post is good, too.

Anonymous said...

Big Man, thanks for the font size; you are a nice person; again thanks.

Raving Black Lunatic