People have guns for two reasons. The first reason is because they’re scared and having a gun makes them feel less scared. The second is because they’re angry and they want to make themselves less angry by killing who ever they’re angry at.
The problem with both fear and anger is that they are both shitty mind states to be in with a gun in your hand. Especially if you’re a white cop in a black neighborhood.
Fear makes anger. Anger makes fear… makes anger… makes fear…
This is the problem I see. America is dividing into both camps. One group of people are scared and the other group of people are angry.
White America looks scared. Black America looks angry.
The whole world can now see why Black America is angry.
7. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK PEOPLE.
We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives us the right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self-defense.
That’s point 7 from the Black Panther Party For Self Defense’s 10-point program. It was written in 1966 by Black Panther founder Huey P Newton. A revolutionary that today would be called a terrorist. A black organization that felt cornered by white America and instead of getting scared they got angry, started talking self defense and picked up guns.
The Black Panthers would fearlessly police the police in the streets of Oakland. Driving behind patrol cars brandishing fully loaded, entirely legal shotguns ready to draw on law enforcement if they saw the cops ‘protecting’ the shit out of any black men, women or children.
But those were gentler times when a car full of black militants could follow police ‘click-clacking’ openly loaded guns without recourse. Nowadays Robocop sniper drones point military grade artillery at black mothers holding placards that read DON’T SHOOT I’M UNARMED, while more soldier cops dressed like video game heroes fire tear gas into crowds of black kids with tee-shirts tied around their faces. The scenes playing out on American television look a lot like Gaza if there were Mc Donald's there. Imagine what a car filled with armed men dressed in black uniforms, following a patrol car would get! Nuclear fire sent from a bunker in Utah and a cute name like ‘Operation Liberty Torch’.
In 1966 Black Panthers felt there was a need to defend the lives of black people living in America. They were angry with a righteous and profound anger that comes from (does this sound familiar) living in a community where they were persecuted by an invading force operating outside the law. They saw the system as geared against black people and the possibility for justice in that system a joke. They decided the best way to take action was directly. So, like good Americans they loaded their guns and saddled up. There’s nothing more U.S.A than that. Someone comes into your home and tries to do you harm, you shoot a hole in them with your big-ass second amendment and stick a flag in it.
WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR BLACK COMMUNITY.
That’s point 1 of the 10 point plan. Self determination and control over the institutions which operate within Black communities. For white America this is called ‘The Government’ but in black America this first and most crucial point seems still to be lacking. That statistic that only 3 out of 53 of the police officers in Ferguson are black, when 67 % of the population is African American is a micro / macro statistic. Zoom out and you’re looking at the whole country and not just with the police. It looks like American apartheid at worst, segregation at best and chicken shit through and through.
When we’re confronted with a situation like Ferguson, both the unarmed shooting of Michael Brown and the over the top reaction of a white faced army riding in on armored cars it’s hard not to see white fear running through every move.
Septic, institutional race related fear of black people. It’s fear that caused the white people to pack up their tennis bats and muffin mix and leave Ferguson in their Volvos - and fear that brings them back with their zip ties and gas masks in their tanks.
It’s fear that property prices will fall and “there goes the neighborhood”. It’s fear in the morning briefing that tells police patrolmen to shoot first ask questions never and it’s fear when the Governor sends in the National Guard to control a couple of hundred people who are throwing rocks. It’s fear that black people all over the country are going to look at each other and start talking seriously about point 7 from the Black Panthers 10 point plan. Start seeing this as a matter of self defense. I can see the ‘WHAT WOULD HUEY DO’ tee shirts already.
So, white America, why are you so scared of black people?
Payback’s a bitch.
White America has a debt that they aren’t paying or even acknowledging and it’s getting awkward because instead of squashing the beef they’re squashing a people.
It’s either imprison black people, shoot them, deprive and marginalize them or… make them President.
One gets the feeling that whites feel Obama is the reparation – like they said – “Here’s a black dude running things now racism is over, right? We cool, yo?” And then the underbelly of America’s racism is exposed and suddenly Obama feels less like progress and more like a cynical front. It feels like a larger version of when Ron Johnson was made the face of the police presence in Ferguson because he’s black. The old white men scrambled around, found him and threw him in front of the camera. It’s not real. It’s PR. All it does is highlight how poorly represented black people are in their own community.
Ferguson is shocking not only to the world but to America, a place where the average white liberal must feel like the nation was making great progress… I mean, you know… HOPE, FORWARD, CHANGE, YES WE CAN.
In 1966 when Huey Newton penned his 10 point plan American race relations were in the toilet. Malcom X had been assassinated, a few months later Detroit would riot and a few months after that, in 1968, Dr King was murdered. And now nearly 50 years later Ferguson is either an isolated case or symptomatic of a chain of events that could make 1966 look quaint. So what are the options for white America?
Pay the debt. Talk seriously about race. Take it off the ‘TOO HOT’ list and put it on the table. Obama needs to do this now while he’s POTUS for a simple and obvious reason: BECAUSE HE’S BLACK! He needs to do it for black people and because it will break the awkward tension in the room for white people who want some justice too. It will give white America a chance to apologise not just for slavery but for everything including 1966.
Or continue to say: “Fuck you black America you’re a conquered people. It’s shitty but this is what happens. That’s what we do. We fucked the Native Americans in the arse so hard they’ve turned into fuck-dust and blew away. And you’re just gonna have to lump it because we aint changing. Here come the National Guard so suck on some teargas…”
It feels more fundamental than women’s rights or gay rights and a shit load more urgent. Mainly because the police aren’t targeting gay dudes who can walk down a street without being shot 6 times by a twitchy redneck from the comfort of his patrol car. Payback needs to begin to happen now before the fear and anger make dialogue impossible.
What does payback look like? Back to the Black Panthers as they helpfully wrote us a list.
We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
We want full employment for our people.
We want an end to the robbery by the white men of our Black Community.
We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
And last but not least…
We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace
Justice and peace… what’s so scary about that?