Freedom or hate speech? The New Black Panther Party
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
July 5, 2011, a new generation of Black Panthers positioned in New York walked on the American flag to show their contempt for the U.S. system. Since grade school United States. students are educated on how to respectfully regard the American flag and when a group chooses to disregard these actions, they are instinctively questioned about their intentions.
Many revivals have emerged from our parents’ era, but who would have guessed that a resurrection of the Black Panthers would emerge? The once revolutionary leftist organization instilled the notions of “Black Power” and “Power to the People” into the minds of Americans in the mid-‘60s. By demonstrating their disapproval and rallying to the cause, the group imprinted a vision of hope, freedom and rebellion into the minds of an oppressed African-American public.
Although the roles and ideals that the original Black Panthers retired from seemed righteous and honorable, the New Black Panther party has been criticized since 1989 for having a different agenda. The original party drew most of its influences from the ideals of Marxism and Maoism, while the new group is more inherently focused on achieving goals through hateful radicalism, therefore constraining the group’s reputation as anti-Semitic, anti-white and exceedingly racist.
Bobby Seale, one of the co-founding members of the original Black Panthers argued, “Just to hate another person because [of] the color of their skin or their ethnicity — we don’t do that. That’s not what the goal objective is. The goal objective is human liberation. The goal objective is the greater community cooperation and humanism. The goal objective is to get rid of institutionalized racism.”
Before George Zimmerman’s arrested, the group chose to become publicly involved in the Trayvon Martin case by offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of Zimmerman. The Chicago Tribune released an article March 24 stating, “New Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad announced the reward during a protest in Sanford Saturday. And when asked whether he was inciting violence, Muhammad replied defiantly: ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’”
Celebrating a festival named by the New Black Panthers as “The Fourth of You Lie” the day before Independence Day was considered by National Geographic as an ironic and accusatory title. As descendants of enslaved African-Americans, the group finds it hard to celebrate a holiday that has come to be considered a day of national independence and freedom.
During the 2008 election, a group of New Black Panthers gathered around a polling place in Philadelphia, yelling racial slurs at white voters.
Oppression and the illusion of oppression are the terms in which both new and old Black Panther parties were created. If these groups are still claiming injustice, it is clear that this old oppression takes similar form in modern society. The difference lies within the controversial way in which the group determines to voice its convictions.
In 1989, just as the new group was emerging (ironically the same year of Newton’s death by gunfire), the Huey P. Newton foundation made available this release: “As guardian of the true history of the Black Panther Party, the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, which includes former leading members of the Party, denounces this group’s exploitation of the Party’s name and history. Failing to find its own legitimacy in the black community, this band would graft the Party’s name upon itself, which we condemn... [T]hey denigrate the Party’s name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded... 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.”