Black History Month: Black power is not the same as white supremacy

Black History Month: Black power is not the same as white supremacy

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Illustration by: Maria Tahir | Staff Photographer

Some may view the black-and-proud movement as supremacist, but historically the only racial empowerment camp with a history of demeaning the existence of others includes those who fly white-pride banners.

To put the black power movement and associated organizations, like the Black Panther Party, on the same level as the infamous ideals of white supremacy is insane. To reach a better understanding, people first need to know the difference in the two ideas’ origins.

White supremacy budded its ugly head when the trans-Atlantic slave trade started. A contributing factor to the crux of the ideals of white superiority came in a time where black slaves and white indentured servants fought for their rights.

Although the rebellion did not last, so continued the perpetuation of an instituted system of racial classification. While white indentured servants were eventually freed and given land, black slaves and their subsequent offspring remained in bondage—creating a subordinate class, far below the lowest class of white people. And so the rise of white supremacy began.

As for the black pride movement, it all started once African American people were able to create and dwell in their own communities. They were able to make platforms in those communities to give the people a voice.

For example, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale established The Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. The founders used the relatively aggressive and militant ideals of the late Malcolm X by pushing their agenda forth for social, economic and political equality among all genders and minorities.

Unlike the Black Power movement, white supremacy quickly molded and shaped itself into a very popular, terroristic group we know today as the Ku Klux Klan.

An infamous terroristic supremacist group, the KKK incorporates devout Christian ideals with the belief that the white race is supreme. Where the KKK preached and acted on superiority, the Black Power movement built upon self-love and unapologetic blackness through the adversity of hateful, destructive societal conditioning.

In ideas of white pride, lynching innocent people was a common activity. Erecting burning crosses in front of the homes of black people as scare tactics to strike fear into their hearts was a typical pastime—and all in the name of the Lord.

On the other hand, the Black Panther Party never lynched people to get a point across. They would only stock up on weapons to protect themselves from those who were targeting their group, like white supremacists, the government and the police.

As a matter of fact, the Panthers didn’t go around terrorizing others communities because they were too busy trying to build up their own. Programs included the People’s Free Ambulance Service and a breakfast program which fed many underprivileged minority children in impoverished communities. Many of the programs the Black Panther Party created were more effective than those of the government at the time because of the tremendous racial inequality still in existence.

Just like any organization, the KKK has an agenda and programs to back it up. The most current ones still in effect today include a protest to the Martin Luther King Holiday and Mobilize America, where yet again they call white Christians to stand up and deport illegal aliens.  

The Black Panther Party never claimed racial superiority or tried to wipe out another group. All the members wanted was an equal playing field. They were going to get it through helping their own community and pushing issues which needed to be dealt with in a less passive way.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the difference between a group wanting to degrade and terrorize those not like them and a group trying to build a better community for themselves and the society they live in.

29 COMMENTS

    • 1. Segregation was never the solution. 2. Tribalism is always an US vs. THEM equation. Denial of this truth does not negate it. 3. The ‘community activities’ within the black communities have failed completely. They breed a GiveMe mentality instead of a We Can Prove Can Assimilate as a Polite Society. 4. How is it that people can immigrate to this country and within one generation go from being completely impoverished to extremely successful participants, financially and in every way? And yet, the AA community after many generations is still struggling? I’m a first generation American and our family worked hard, never identified with anything negative or ‘gangsta’. Instead we were taught to idolize hard work and intellectual advancements. Could the attitude have had something to do with the success? Immigrants from countries we are considered ‘at war with’ who speak no English fair better than natural born citizens? As an outsider looking in, this looks like how children make excuses for poor behavior and get a pass through Guilt Tripping parents. I could be wrong, but if I were a community leader, I would try to change the imagine of what it means to be a AA person from a gangsta to something more polite and see what that gains for the group.

  1. While I do not support either of these groups, The Black Panther party and KKK have a deep history. In order to understand what these groups represent people should actually go and study these groups. Their origins and doctrines have changed and evolved into what they are today. It’s a shame that even now when this country is churning out the most college graduates in its modern time, that people are still so belligerently intolerant of others solely based on genetic factors such as skin color. Race, as a term in politics, does not even exist in biology. There are no genetic markers that signify race. There is the human species.

    • In a perfect world, the last part of what you said would make sense, but that is not the case. We may be the same as a species, we still have are our differences and cultures, and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is the idea that subjugating others as lesser or making short of marginalized peoples’ blights, and pretending those issues don’t exist or being the one perpetuating those actions and ideals.

  2. As part of the historical analysis here, it would be very useful to distinguish between the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (Newton and Seale’s brainchild, the one lasting and evolving from the 1960s to the early 1980s) and the New Black Panther Party, which is a black nationalist and separatist organization that original Panthers have roundly criticized. There were black nationalist groups in the 1960s and 1970s that competed with the Black Panthers–such as Ron Karenga’s US–that espoused a philosophy more closely aligned black supremacy, ideas that go back in spirit to the Nation of Islam’s emphasis on black separatism and black nationalism. In 1962 George Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party met with Elijah Muhammad. Much later Jack Metzgar donated money to Louis Farrakhan and the NOI.

    This is important to bring up because the BPP–the original Panthers–were revolutionaries who felt class conflict was more important than race-based conflict. That’s why there was solidarity between the BPP, the Brown Berets, white revolutionaries, and other marginal groups. Hardline black nationalism would preclude those relationships because it privileges race about other factors. Obviously race and class issues overlap, but it is simply incorrect to claim that the BPP is a black nationalist group. The NBPP is, but the old one wasn’t.

  3. So is no one else upset that she used “as a matter of fact”? So lets talk about today since no one wants to be Martin Luther King and carry out peaceful protest. Why is it okay for entire cities to burn for the Death of one person? Why is it that I have to apologize for my ancestors? I have never been a slave owner and you have never been a slave. We know that slavery is wrong. We know inequality is wrong. We do not have slavery and inequality is virtually none existent. Really though. When was the last time someone was turned down for a job because they were not white? All what this is, is good old fashioned race baiting. A black kid gets shot and he’ll breaks loose. A white kid gets shot and he just deserved it. BTW I’m the minority where I work. I show no animosity towards anyone except the ignorant. That’s all what this is ignorant race baiting. This is why blacks will always feel oppressed. You want everyone to feel guilty. White people did bad things. Got it. I’m not doing bad things, my friends aren’t doing bad things, my family aren’t doing bad things. Why do you need to guilt us into feeling that it’s our fault? You’re the problem. You’re justifyig something that doesn’t need to be justified. It needs to be proven. Prove with actions not words then you can write a history paper on what good the black panthers did for equality. Then maybe you’d write something meaningful.

    • Your comment is saturated with obvious White Privilege. There are several flaws in your statement. Or, you’re just refusing to see the facts.
      1: “Why is it okay for entire cities to burn for the Death of one person?” Well… Sean Bell, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford & Sandra Bland are more than ONE person. The systematic rule of White Supremacy in power continuously kills Black People & gets not even a slap on the wrist. Arts & Crafts (Picket Signs) and Parades (Marches) have changed NOTHING. So no! No one wants to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & carry out an ineffective peaceful protest. When Blacks turn the other cheek in AmeriKKKa, it only makes it easier to be struck on the other side of our collective heads.
      2: “Why is it that I have to apologize for my ancestors? I have never been a slave owner and you have never been a slave.” Do you benefit from the actions of your ancestors? YES!
      Are you willing to give up ALL advances, benefits & opportunities you enjoy as the result of your ancestors inhumane acts? NO!
      Do Black people in AmeriKKKa still feel the affects of Slavery & Jim Crow Law? YES!
      Have the descendants of enslaved Africans been financially compensated (reparations)? NO!
      Germany has paid more than $89 BILLION to Holocaust Survivors. The Japanese that were forced into internment camps during World War II, EACH received $20,000.00! Blacks in AmeriKKKa have received nothing.
      Which brings me to…
      3: “… inequality is virtually nonexistent.” REALLY???
      Just because you see Black Men & Women playing sports or singing & dancing on your television does not mean ALL Black people are treated equally & fairly.
      4: “When was the last time someone was turned down for a job because they were not white?”
      That’s yet another disgusting side of the White Supremacy infrastructure. Denying a non-white person a job because they’re “over-qualified” or “the position is filled”. But, the job goes to someone under qualified or until they find someone that appeals to them visually.
      5: “A black kid gets shot and hell breaks loose.” If there was only ONE or TWO UNARMED Black kids murdered by the police, your statement may hold some validity. But, the 7 Black Men, Women & Children I mentioned in my 1st point are merely a small amount of Unarmed Blacks Murdered by the police. Just yesterday (Feb. 10, 2016) an unarmed & NAKED Black teen was shot & killed by police in Austin, Texas. So yes… ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE when we’re treated worse than dogs.
      Someone hurts a dog in AmeriKKKa & laws change immediately. Cops continue to kill Blacks since 1865 & no one goes to jail 150 years later & with video footage.
      Let the Governor of Michigan (Prick Snyder) allow lead poisoned water reach affluent white neighborhoods & he’d be in jail before the ink would dry on the arrest warrant.
      Different rules, different compensations & different consequences in these United States of AmeriKKKa.

      • For the most part I totally agree with your statements and assessment of the situation for blacks in America today. And you didn’t EVEN mention the ratio of blacks to whites in prison. Blacks are much more of a target and are much more likely to be harshly prosecuted than whites. Or Asians for that matter. But I have seen many of video too of cops executing whites…in cold blooded murder. Some for just being homeless and others for simply having Down’s Syndrome. And they are seldom (VERY seldom!) held accountable for their actions. They are in fact above the law that they are sworn to protect. As for the lead poisoning in Michigan…it harmed many whites as well. No excuse for this. None. Lead is being found in the water of many other cities as well as Flint. The basic point of the article was that KKK stands for hatred, racism and white supremacy…and Black Power or Black Panthers stood/stand for equal rights and a more level playing field. They don’t lynch nor deliberately terrorize folks. Many of the Panthers were well educated and they saw no need to hide under hoods. Can’t say the same for the KKK which is anything BUT educated! I am white and I live in a predominately white, rural area. But I know that a black man in any given city has 10 times more likelihood to be pulled over than I do. They are also much more likely to be shot or at very least arrested. Just saying…we have a long way to go in this country where equal and civil rights are concerned. The election of a black (half) President and how he is totally reviled by half the folks of this country…also revealed to me that we have a long, LONG way to go yet!

    • I don’t see how bringing up social inequality, bringing awareness to our past, and correcting the misrepresentation of black social movements correlates to “race baiting.”

      “In America,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, “there is a strange and powerful belief that if you stab a black person 10 times, the bleeding stops and the healing begins the moment the assailant drops the knife.”

      It’s like this: suppose a kid got bullied all through grade school and junior high AND high school. Let’s say that bullying really hurt the kid, it affected how happy he was in school, affected his performance in school, etc. Now, let’s say in the last week of the last semester of high school people started being sorta nicer to this kid, SORTA. By that I mean most people start carrying on about how “bullying is wrong” and start bullying LESS. At this point in the story, everyone agrees verbally that bullying is wrong ( in public, at least) but still sometimes that kid gets bullied. Now, the kid, with new awareness starts really getting upset by the incidences of bullying that still occur, starts reporting this bullying to the teachers, who, for his ENTIRE EDUCATION have done very little if nothing to protect this kid. At this point, his classmates turn on him and ask why HE’S stirring up trouble. THAT’S what the term “race baiting” correlates to.

      As Louis C.K. puts it: “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

      If you truly want healing to begin in this country, BE AN ALLY. Listen. Even if you want to scream “That’s not ME! I don’t discriminate! I would never murder a black person for playing his music too loud/playing with a toy gun/ walking with a hoodie on/ selling loose cigarettes/ not moving to the side of the road! I’m NOT RACIST! Why do I have to listen to black people complain about racism??!!”

      Well, as an ALLY, I’ll tell you a little secret: Tamir Rice should devastate you too. Eric Garner should piss you off too. Mike Brown should put a fire in your heart. Trayvon Martin should have you MARCHING IN THE GODDAMN STREETS.

      And if you don’t like Beyonce’s dancers wearing berets and dancing to “Formation,” then rethink your soul. What’s happening right now is so vitally important to that “healing” you’re so concerned about. Having

      Now, as to your commentary that you’re the minority where you work? Dude, please. I’m white. Blonde and blue eyed. I was born in Baltimore. I grew up in M****f***n Prince Georges county. If you don’t know what that means, look it up. You don’t see racism? Have you ASKED your black coworkers if they have experienced racism? I’m betting you’re not the kind of person they would open up to about their experiences anyway. Furthermore, you do realize that things happen beyond the scope of your experience? That simply because you live in the Sahara, snow does exist? If you don’t believe that racism exists, you are being willfully ignorant.

      If you are truly concerned for America, be an ally to your black countrymen and women. Make their fight your fight. Be united in fighting oppression instead of denying that oppression exists. I’m a proud ally for my fellow countrymen and women who are fighting for true democracy, true justice, true equality. That’s as American as it gets.

      P.S. I was hoping this article would have more pertinent things to say about the Black Panthers. I’ve been reading alot of b.s. comparing their movement to the KKK and it makes me want to throw something at the wall.

      • I would bet my life on the fact you’re not white. It’s ok, life gets easier when you stop playing the victim card and take responsibility for your own life. What you just wrote is pathetic.

      • >>As Louis C.K. puts it: “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”<<

        Yes, you do.
        In a normal situation where nobody wants to humiliate the other one, intent can matter. "You just stepped on my foot!" – "Oh, I am sorry!" – problem solved. "Yes, I did and if you complain again, I'll do it again!" – that does hurt because now I know someone intentionally wants to hurt me physically and emotionally.

        Also – if you are a person of color and I am white and I tell you that something you did just hurt me (or you literally reduce me to tears by bullying me), you can coolly remark "white tears". So you can deny me my right to feelings, you can force me to suppress these feelings if I don't want to look foolish or be bullied more (see the incident with waitress who was refused tipping by the Oxford student because she was white. She started crying for various reasons and he mocked that online as "typical white tears". This expressions and various gifs about it may actually lead to some people of color feeling no sympathy for white people that are crying because they are genuinely in pain (after an accident, assault etc.).

        Usually, if someone hurts me (or vice versa) and they explain why they did what they did and that it wasn't their intend to hurt me, I will feel better or not hurt at all. My mom was once driving with my brother and she got upset about another driver and cursed. My brother felt that the curse was directed to him and twitched. She explained the situation and both laughed. Because he knew that she did not want to hurt him. If intend did not matter, nothing she could have said could have reduced his alarm at her swearword.

        In my opinion, one problem is that now some white people go out of their way not to unintentionally hurt people of color by saying or doing something that might offend them, and some people of color go out of their way to hurt white people's feelings (if not more, in extreme cases…) by intentionally saying insulting things but simultaneously claiming that the white people have no right to their feelings, have no right to be hurt of offended. Some of these white people will then convince themselves that indeed they don't and will suppress their feelings which sure isn't healthy. Also not for the relationship between the two groups!

    • First off. Black are superior and your ancestors knew. And wanted to be the same still to this day. You guys never will be. Ivy league schools have to study black history so y’all won’t slip up

    • Im not going to make this a long but I know that education is the only way to fix ignorance. You say “I show no animosity towards anyone except the ignorant” so I hope you will take the time to educate yourself. Of not you need to show animosity where it is due, meaning towards yourself.

      Here’s some light informative reading about as you put it “virtually none existent” inequality:
      1) 13 surprising ways your name affects your success (caveat: no one gets to pick their own name) – http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/careersandeducation/13-surprising-ways-your-name-affects-your-success/ar-BBlrScz#page=3
      2) He Dropped One Letter In His Name While Applying For Jobs, And The Responses Rolled In – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/02/jose-joe-job-discrimination_n_5753880.html
      3) ‘Black’-sounding name makes people imagine a larger, more dangerous person – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151007110735.htm
      4) The New Jim Crow – https://peacelawandjustice.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/newjimcrow-ch-1.pdf
      5) Racism without Racists- https://anth1001.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/eduardo_bonilla-silva_racism_without_racists_color-blind_racism_and_the_persistence_of_racial_inequality_in_the_united_states_2nd_edition__2006.pdf

      I could go on but many many people have documented the systematic racism and the fact it still occurs today right here in America.

  4. For the most part I totally agree with your statements and assessment of the situation for blacks in America today. And you didn’t EVEN mention the ratio of blacks to whites in prison. Blacks are much more of a target and are much more likely to be harshly prosecuted than whites. Or Asians for that matter. But I have seen many of video too of cops executing whites…in cold blooded murder. Some for just being homeless and others for simply having Down’s Syndrome. And they are seldom (VERY seldom!) held accountable for their actions. They are in fact above the law that they are sworn to protect. As for the lead poisoning in Michigan…it harmed many whites as well. No excuse for this. None. Lead is being found in the water of many other cities as well as Flint. The basic point of the article was that KKK stands for hatred, racism and white supremacy…and Black Power or Black Panthers stood/stand for equal rights and a more level playing field. They don’t lynch nor deliberately terrorize folks. Many of the Panthers were well educated and they saw no need to hide under hoods. Can’t say the same for the KKK which is anything BUT educated! I am white and I live in a predominately white, rural area. But I know that a black man in any given city has 10 times more likelihood to be pulled over than I do. They are also much more likely to be shot or at very least arrested. Just saying…we have a long way to go in this country where equal and civil rights are concerned. The election of a black (half) President and how he is totally reviled by half the folks of this country…also revealed to me that we have a long, LONG way to go yet!

  5. Let’s get this article from. Another perspective. Black opinion and obviously one sided. You’re hiding your racism under oppression, wake up idiots. Free cell phones, food and housing that I pay for. I work hard for my money and you get it for free. I have a disabled child and get no help, why? Because I’m not you. Suck it up and quit complaining, you make your own bed…. Now lay in it. Get an education, it’s free…… You like free right?! You are given way more than you put in. I’ve busted my ass for years and we don’t get any help for our disabled child, but you just sign your name and get everything…. Free! Get an education and a job and then you can complain. All the opportunity is there but you take the easy way, the no effort way. Don’t bitch until you’ve tried and failed. And as far as your article, you should be fired but Obama protects you. Good luck next year when we have a real American for president. As far as oppression, don’t forget your own people sold you as slaves, how is that for history. I guess you should be pissed at your own, not the Americans!

  6. There’s nothing wrong with our society. The blame lies with black culture and attitude. I 100% do not believe in racism but firmly believe in stereotypes and judging a book by its cover. Every African American or any minority that look and acts respectable gets treated with dignity and respect. I’m tired of apologizing for being white and I’m just going to say there is nothing wrong with being white and we get treated better because as a whole we are a more socialized and caring race. Do you know how many white families owned slaves? Very few only the super privileged owned slaves. I’m tired of being put down for being white, it’s not fair knowing my ancestors weren’t even American citizens during that time. The black power movement is a joke. You can call me a racist I don’t care, I know what I am which is a caring individual who gives credit where credit is due.

  7. Great article sincerely!! American history is distorted for a reason. Until PARTIALITY has ceased and TRUTH is no longer convoluted, confusion and dissension will always exist. Truth and Love will shut down the proud, arrogant, liars, distorters of truth. Seekers of Truth, love, forgiveness, compassion, understanding dispels guilt and shame. Black is Beautiful. Black, brown, tan, red, yellow and white is beautiful; poverty is ugly. Poverty and death shows no disparity in humanity. Power to the People!! Know who your Real enemies are. 1 Timonthy 5:21

  8. This article is such bullshit. More black racism. Yes you are racists too. Blacks have more than their share by population percentages of government jobs in major cities like Atlanta. Public education and laws protecting them have been in place for decades. Affirmative action , discriminating against everyone else isn’t enough, now the person above wants reparations. Jesus. Can’t we all take some responsibility and take care of ourselves. Can’t we get along? Can we stop making excuses for the extreme violent criminal behavior and terrorism of our streets and neighborhoods of by mainly the 2-3 percent of the 13.2 percent of African Americans (mainly male) and the smaller percent of criminals in other races. You have had the benefit of the vote, education, affirmative action, and countless other government programs. When are most of you going to get a job?? No one I know supports the KKK, white supremacists, or discrimination of other races. But don’t sit here and tell me the Black Panthers are different. Blacks want to rewrite the American history of whites, while shoving their current glossed over history down our throats. People are getting real tired of this crap. 13.2 % of the population should not be running city governments, as evidenced by the condition those cities are currently in. Criminals seem to want the police to leave them alone to commit all of these violent crimes without any repercussions, and guarantees of their safety. Stop committing crimes in the first place.

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