The old Black Panther Party members are quick to disassociate themselves with this new “political”/”self defense”/vigilante group calling themselves the New Black Panther Party. You’ve probably heard of this new group recently as they’ve placed a bounty on the head of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting Trayvon Martin.
This new Party should have some discussions with the original Black Panthers; chances are pretty good that they’d be told the quickest way to lose credibility and any voice you may have is to promote violence. In fact, the Black Panther’s released a news alert condeming this group of hate mongers:
Firstly, the people in the New Black Panthers were never members of the Black Panther Party and have no legitimate claim on the Party’s name. On the contrary, they would steal the names and pretend to walk in the footsteps of the Party’s true heroes, such as Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton, George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson, Bunchy Carter, John Huggins, Fred Hampton, Mark Cark, and so many others who gave their very lives to the black liberation struggle under the Party’s banner.
Secondly, they denigrate the Party’s name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded. Their alleged media assault on the Ku Klux Klan serves to incite hatred rather than resolve it. The Party’s fundamental principle, as best articulated by the great revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was: “A true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The Black Panthers were never a group of angry young militants full of fury toward the “white establishment.” The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people.
I was asked yesterday why the media is ignoring this new party – why can they get away with what they are doing and how is it any different than the KKK. The way they are different from the KKK is obvious, the KKK is/was about annihilating any ethnicity outside of Caucasian – they promote a “cleansed”, one race society. The Black Panthers were fighting for civil rights, for equal rights and treatment – big difference. These New Black Panthers seem to be promoting “eye for an eye” justice, which in my opinion is reprehensible.
I can’t answer why the media is steering clear of this new group. Perhaps they are concerned about giving them any credibility or perhaps there’s no clear leadership of this New Black Panther Party. The Black Panther’s news alert questioned the leadership themselves:
The question the Foundation raises, then, is who are these people laying claim to the Party’s history and name? Are they reactionary provocateurs, who would instigate activities counterproductive to the people’s interests, causing mayhem and death? Are they entertainers, who would posture themselves before the media, and, according to numerous sources, with empty guns, to spin gold for themselves? Are they, given the history of their late-leader Khalid Muhammad, a group of anti-Semites like the very Ku Klux Klan they allegedly oppose? What is their agenda?
Regardless of who leads this group or who is in membership, they should know by now that hate only begets hate and violence only begets violence. Promoting hate and violence will not ease the pain of parents losing their child, it won’t heal the pain the community and nation is suffering at a needless death and it won’t help determine what justice looks like for George Zimmerman. It will derail positive, compassionate discussion about race, racism and the beauty of diversity and it will go far in playing to the stereotype of the angry, dangerous black man.