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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » Culture, Race & Economy - Archive 2005 » The Black Panther Party « Previous Next »

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Chrishayden
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Post Number: 1529
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Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 01:25 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

October 14, 2005

They Haven't Forgotten; Neither Should We
The Black Panthers Revisited
By RON JACOBS

If a single date can be assigned to an historical event that developed over the course of a decade, then October 15, 1966 would be the date given as the day that the Black Panther Party for Self Defense was formed by two young men in Oakland, California. Bobby Seale and Huey Newton--two Black brothers attending community college who were frustrated with the existing rights groups on campus, in large part because they did not speak to the concerns or emotions of African-American on the streets. It's not that they didn't want those groups to exist, it was that they needed to be more radical and address the issues of those black-skinned residents of the United States who lived in situations that not only put them at the mercy of the landlord and the welfare system, but turned their daily existence into a struggle (sometimes armed) with the police force. Of course, the police were (and are) nothing but the most obvious brutality of the system built on the enslavement of a people in the pursuit of profit and power that we know as the American way.

Contrary to popular myth, the Black Panther Party did not come out of their clubs and homes in the black communities of Oakland, California with their guns a-blazing. In fact, their first actions involved working with church and neighborhood groups to get a traffic light at an intersection near a school in East Oakland after a series of traffic fatalities involving young children and suburban Californians speeding through the neighborhood on their way home from work. The Oakland city government had consistently ignored the requests of these very same church and neighborhood groups for years, telling them that while that intersection was on their list, it would be a while before the city could afford to install a traffic light. The Panthers disagreed with that assessment and took direct action. They began directing traffic, stopping cars so that children and their parents could cross the street. At first the Oakland Police Department (OPD) attempted to shut down the traffic control operation, but when many church members and leaders joined in with the Panthers and their supporters, the OPD backed off. Soon afterwards, the city installed a traffic light at the intersection.

If one reads the Ten Point Program of the Panthers, they will not see a radical document that calls for the installment of a dictatorship of the proletariat or a program to install a racially designed anti-white regime. No, the demands merely demanded fairness and some reparations for the historic enslavement of African-Americans by the white-skinned rulers of the American colonies and the early United States. Sure, the Panthers saw the situation of black people in the US as comparable to that of a colony, but that perception is still not that much of a stretch even today, thirty-four years after the founding of the Party. One can argue the various theoretical inadequacies of this perception, but the general truth of the economic status of most African-Americans in today's world is this: they own little property; they are subject to the whims of the major capitalist and political powers that work hand in hand to keep power among the rich who are also mostly white skinned; in those arenas where they do produce goods or services, the control remains with the colonial (or neocolonial) power; and in terms of the culture of the colonized, it is expropriated, manipulated, and exploited.

The Panthers were the targets of the most concerted governmental internal counterinsurgency effort while they existed, if not in the entire history of the United States. After they began observing Oakland police by following them around as they performed their duties the Party began to incur the cops' wrath. It was because the Panthers carried loaded guns during their observations that the California State Legislature outlawed that practice in California. The sight of Black men with loaded guns was too much for the fearful white culture. In April 1968, one of the first members of the Panthers was killed by Oakland police. Sixteen year old Bobby Hutton was shot down in a confrontation that also saw the arrest of Eldridge Cleaver, who had joined the party after his release from prison in 1967. Cleaver then went into exile after being released on bail. His theoretical differences with some of the original party members, especially Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, would be exploited by FBI agents and others involved in the counterinsurgency campaign waged against the Panthers. This campaign was a major part of the COINTELPRO program and involved everything from infiltration to murder. Bobby Hutton's death was but the first of many.

By 1971, the Party had seen its leaders imprisoned on charges that were at best questionable and often completely bogus. It had seen the assassination by government death squads of some of its members, most notably Illinois Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Government agents and informers facilitated rumors about members sexuality and infidelities that caused jealousies and mistrust. Furthermore, they hung snitch jackets on members in an attempt to destroy the credibility of the organization within the party and in the greater community. With the leadership in prison or constantly in court, membership continued to increase. Unlike earlier days, the political education was not broad enough to keep up with the increase in membership. This created a situation where street toughs that joined the party for their personal gain were provided a political motivation or kicked out if they refused to change their ways. On top of all this government murder and mayhem, there were always the drugs--the government's perennial counterinsurgency tactic against the poor and disenfranchised.

Within the Party, schisms were expanding. Cleaver's analysis of the situation was that the United States was in a revolutionary state and that the time was right for armed revolution. This view was held by many members in the East Coast chapters and by the Party's international wing. The analysis put forth by the Oakland wing and Huey Newton was that the US was far from a revolutionary situation and that the Party needed to engage in education and community action. Guns and violence were for self-defense only. Despite these differences in perception that resulted in differences in theory, most Panther chapters were running breakfast programs and schools, providing services and an affirmative education to their constituency's most vulnerable. One can convincingly argue that these programs were what the powers-that-be truly feared and opposed. After all, these programs took away the slavemaster's power to give and take away. These programs told the welfare and educational systems of the power structure that Black people were tired of being manipulated and patronized. They were going to take care of their own. In one way, it was like the Nation of Islam and its program of self-empowerment. But the Panthers went several steps further. They weren't just talking self-empowerment, they were talking self-determination. They weren't talking black-owned enterprises, they were talking black-run communities.

Unfortunately, like so many bold endeavors of that time period in the United States and around the world, they failed in the ultimate realization of that goal. Yet, they did help to establish something new in this nation of slavers. They gave those of us of all skin tones in the United States a reason for hope and a history to build on. They put the power elites in this country on notice--a notice that they haven't forgot. They didn't forget as they dismantled the education system in this country. They didn't forget as they shipped good jobs overseas. They didn't forget as they encouraged the criminalization of an entire generation of Black men. They didn't forget when they realized that, since they couldn't keep hiphop away from their white skinned kids, they could certainly encourage the element of that musical form that perpetuated various myths about the Black nation within America's borders. They didn't forget as they celebrated their sociologists that encouraged notions of racially-based pathologies that had nothing to with race and plenty to do with economics. They haven't forgot in California where law enforcement recently jailed four one-time Panther members because they refuse to join in the government's witch-hunt for the perpetrators of a thirty-five year old crime (see www.fbiwitchhunt.org). They haven't forgotten in Brunswick, Georgia, where former Panther leader Elaine Brown is running for mayor (http://www.elainebrown.org/) against a white skinned man who proudly proclaims his membership in the racist organization Sons of the Confederacy. Her campaign is simultaneously fighting a new voting law that requires voters to show an official Georgia ID before they can vote. I have voted in every campaign since 1974 in every state that I have lived in and never had to produce an ID. This is an attempt to disenfranchise the poor, since an ID costs at least ten dollars if one has all of their other papers in order. They haven't forgotten in the streets of Washington, DC, where this weekend's Millions More March will call on the inspiration of the Black Panthers in their words and their hopes.

They haven't forgotten and neither should we.

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net




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Cynique
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Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 03:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Having been acquainted with Fred Hampton, the Minister of Defense of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party, a young man who grew up in and spent most of his short life in my hometown before being gunned down in his bed by the Chicago pigs/cops, I can say that he was a dynamic extraordinary young man with radical ideas that never really stood a chance of being implemented. But, having been around then, to me, the Black Panther's greatest accomplishment was that they scared the shit out of The Establishment. Most black people kinda wink-winked at the Panthers because, all romanticized notions aside, a lot of these brothas were so busy gettin high, and ogling white women while relegating sistas to subordinate positions, that bringing about a Revolution wasn't something that loomed as a viable threat. But white folks were scared to death of the Panthers, especially the panic-stricken head of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover, who feared they would attempt to bring down this nation. Other cooler heads knew that this menacing band of rebels was really not organized well enough to do anything other than make militant speeches, run free lunch programs in their communities and set up private schools whose curricula consisted mostly of bad-mouthin whitey, and they never would have survived an armed confrontation with the most powerful nation in the world. It's also significant that Fred Hampton's demise was the result of his being betrayed by a turncoat member of the black panther Party. Also, later the Panthers compromised their principles and started hob-nobbing with what was known a the "radical chic", a community white of rich liberals who embraced the panthers because it was the "in" thing to do.
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 03:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I never cared for the Black Panthers to be honest.

I can appreciate Elaine Brown, but overall, I don't like Huey Newton or most of the members.



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Chrishayden
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Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 11:45 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Had the Panthers been advised by older black radicals the organization might not have been shattered by the counter attack that was launched against them by the establishment--of many errors they made also was the error of, as Cynique said, buying into the "radical chic" idea. I knew they were in trouble when Huey P. Newton appeared on the David Frost show. Mao wasn't on no show. Ho Chi Minh wasn't on no show. Castro wasn't on no show. They were trying to wipe them out and they would have known they were only making higher profile targets of themselves.

In line with this was when Huey started hobnobbing with the Hollywood radicals and they convinced him to take that $800 a month apartment (this was in about 1970!)--he stated it was because he got to keep an eye on the police station--if he did it for that he wasn't thinking of how bad it looked to the People.

They also failed to provide for a source of new recruits to replace losses in their devastated formations--they had taken on this elite aura and folks sat back with their arms folded and said, "handle it". Only when they were about wiped out did they start telling people that they were not "Super niggers" and eschewing the black tams and leather jackets, again, too late.

I remember they had a war with the Black P Stone nation in Illinois and the P-Stones ran them off the table--the cops wound up taking Bobby Rush into custody. Instead of seeking some accomodations they took side with the Disciples.

They had a small presence in St. Louis due to the existence already of some Panther like Black Nationalist groups

All the Panthers I met were reasonable intelligent people when you got past the bluster. I met some Chicago Panthers--Bobby Rush who is now a Congressman. They had a team and the deadliest, most violent one of them was a Black woman. Never knew her name.

I remember sitting in a meeting where an adherent of Ron Karenga's US was on stage and he and some Panthers got into a back and forth thing in which some words were exchanged. During the exchange several Panthers got up and moved to the back of the hall. A couple moved to the foot of the stage. Another got up on the stage. All this time this broad is in a seat right behind me, going in her purse and hissing that she should blow the guys head off.

The man's friends finally pulled him off the stage for his own good. The Panther on the stage then took the mike. Told us he was glad that the speaker had not made the remarks to him that he'd made to Rush because he was a "crazy motherfucker."

Whatever else you could say about them they were not to be played with.
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Nhank602003
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 12:23 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You are forgeting Brother David Hillard who was one of the orginal members of the "Black Panther Party". To Kola_boot; Did you ever talk with Brother Huey P. Newton or any other true member of the "Party" You saying that you never care for any of the "Panthers" shows why so called Afro-Americans in this country can't unite, today. Have you ever heard of "Divide and Conquer" Are you from another country or just another mis-educated "Negro". Did you dis-like Brother Malcolm X, as well? Can you at lease appreciate what this brother tried to do for black people in this country?
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 02:40 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Malcolm X is my favorite hero.

So is John Garang.

So is Marcus Garvey.

So is Alice Walker.

Lumumba.

Winnie Mandela.

Steve Biko.


I don't like Huey Newton for his blatant sexism (beating his women lovers, speaking hatefully about women), his blatant colorism and his homophobia---and because he really wasn't for BLACK people.

I don't like Bishop Desmond Tutu either.








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Blkamericanking
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 04:01 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kola,

I am so shocked you don't care much about the Black Panthers. I don't know a whole lot about the Panthers but i thought Bobby Seale and Huey Newton were really putting thier lives on the line for Black Americans. If in fact Huey beat women i am TOTALLY AGAINST that. I never heard anything about Huey's colorism. Can you please explain?
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 06:36 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What do you mean EXPLAIN?

I thought you read all about his life?

Shit. Every woman he had was damned near white.

He dropped high yellow Elaine Brown for some Nordic looking woman.

He was the typical Black American "radical".

Hating whitey but trying to stay as white as possible.


I don't know how LONG it's going to take people to understand that I don't like anyone who doesn't like Black people in the physical sense.


It doesn't matter how much Pro-Black Rhetoric they sprew or how many blacks follow them.

Palestinians....Black Panthers...etc.

If you love black people so goddamned much, give birth to one!!

Live and eat with them.

I'm SURE he would hate my black ass, too, if he were still around.







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Kola_boof
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 06:40 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look at Amiri Baraka and all the shit he talked.

Changed his name to Arabic and screamed "PRO-black" rhetoric 24/7.

Demonizing the evil "White man".

Married a white woman.

Never did hook up with the tall, chocolate Nubian goddess his ilk "speak about" so often.

Man, please!





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Blkamericanking
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 07:34 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow Kola, i had no idea Huey was messing with white women. Well, maybe that was one of his ways of getting back at the white man...LMAO Unfortunately brotha Huey is not around and if he were still around he would not hate you...LOL
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 07:41 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The woman wasn't white.

She LOOKED white.








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Blkamericanking
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 07:56 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh ok Kola, my bad, i didn't pay close attention. Well, i still like the fact that the Panthers stood up to white people and the police.

This may be a bit off the subject but i know an Ethiopian guy from a chatroom who said he was an Ethiopian Panther...LOL...That brotha had me laughing but he was very serious and he hates white people.
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Ntfs_encryption
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Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 03:32 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"The woman wasn't white. She LOOKED white".

So why did you care what color her skin was? Isn't it the politics and activities of the individual that really determines their seriousness and accomplishments? What business is it of yours who anyone sleeps with? And why would you care?
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Anunaki3600
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Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 03:31 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Remind's me when one of the X-Panthers came to UCLA. Little did we know that he had joined the MOONIES, the Korean Christian Priest and was now totally against what he used to believe in and had started selling some crazy-ass jeans under some wierd brandname of his. I forgot his name. Can anyone remind me of his name.
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West_africa
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Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 01:34 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Kola Boof" should not even be discussed in the same conversation as Huey Newton.

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Kola_boof
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Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 03:40 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You got that right, West Africa.

On account of him being a jig dancer like you.


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West_africa
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:01 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An honest question:

What is the relationship between "Kola Boof" and "Betty Boop" ?

Begin your examination of the matter:

1. http://www.bettyboop.com/

2. "I named myself Kola Boof…because I always loved this cartoon girl, Betty Boop,
and I wanted to be sexy and funny like her."

(Quote by . . . who...?)

Excerpt: ==> "...I wanted to be...like her."


Darling, would you mind...?
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West_africa
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:07 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By the way, Naima, we are not really "against" you.



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Kola_boof
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:35 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually, here's the ENTIRE quote from my autobiography:

The name (as a poem) signifies four things--(1) the Kola nut, which is the favorite snack of African children as well as the symbol of prosperity, moral goodness and well being to Africans as a people. (2) The sound of the African drum ("boof!" comes the drums). And then finally, because as a teenager, I so loved silent screen star Clara Bow and cartoon sex kitten Betty Boop, and was (and am) a silent movie buff to the point that I wanted to create an actressy, sexy movie star type name that would still encompass everything that I cherish and wanted to represent as an artist from Africa--and--as a womanist and wombbearer. So in the poem "Kola Boof", I achieved all of that and made the two word poem my name, and in fact, took it further by naming several of my books after the silent films that I loved so much as a teen ("Flesh and the Devil"..."Long Train to the Redeeming Sin"..."Diary of a Lost Girl").

_________

So I'm named for four things:

the Kola nut

the African drum (boof)

Clara Bow (silent screen star)

Betty Boop


I also loved Olivia Newton John and the GoGo's when I was a kid.



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Kola_boof
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:36 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By the way, Naima, we are not really "against" you.

I could give a shit what you're against.


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West_africa
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:38 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You will soon.
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 03:59 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've been threatened all my life, West Africa.

So just GET IN LINE, motherfucker.

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West_africa
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Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 07:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In the context of the African-American experience, and that history ( which is real ), "Kola Boof" is a joke, and the joke is not funny, it's silly.

Even jokes, however, can be examined for intent.

Why would anyone threaten a joke?
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Ifasehun
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Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 12:14 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kola_boof, your comments are interesting. The word is YOU are the "typical radical" seeing as most of what you say is full of hatred. If I encounter one more sister that absolutely and wholesale hates black men and says her "inspiration" is you, I may puke.

Huey had problems. But he accomplished WAY more for African people than you EVER will. So who's working with the greater handicap, him or you?

Futhermore, you act as if Huey's behavior was self-engineered. Black men AND Black women have always mimmicked White people. This why we call it colonization. Huey was a product of a generally sexist American society. It's easy to protray him as a free thinking person, but in reality esteemed Black men and women of that period acted a whole lot more like whites and arabs than their own forefathers. We had no model to view or draw on as most people in the 60s had no indigenous Africa model to draw on.

This continues to be the case for those that would rather be African-Americans, rather than Africans born in America, dressing, eating, living, playing, working, worshipping, and solving their problems like "them". So, they will inevitably find themselves mimmicking other folks. Whenever we find ourselves mimmicking Arabic and European culture we are adding to our own problems.

Huey's legacy is that he taught future black men the best and the worst of their potential. If we can realize that our struggle is not political, but cultural, then we may find less mimmicking. It would be a monumental day to see the launching of the African Panthers, with an emphasis on African culture, language, dress, spirituality/religion and social structure. In this model Black women are respected as priestesses and leaders. Traditional and Classical African societies hold the key to our success as independent and healthy people. Not as shadows of Arab and White people.

Huey wasn't bad. He just wasnt culturally free yet. The question is, what's YOUR excuse for training so many black women to hate their own brothers instead of healing one another?

Are you still struggling with your own cultural slavery as well?
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Blaklioness
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Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 07:48 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ifasehun:

I'm not speaking for Kola, but I would like to know whether you think we should be supporting "black" men who don't support us. I only know of Huey Newton's public persona but am aware that there were other Panthers who were alledgedly involved with women who were not Black. For me, that's a conflict of sociopolitical and spiritual interest---no matter how much it may NOT be my PERSONAL business. Just how long are we expected to love and be loyal to those individual males who REFUSE to reciprocate it?
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Kola_boof
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Post Number: 770
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 01:17 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ifaseshun,

I have lived all over this world.

And I have yet to encounter ANY HUMAN BEINGS who hate black women and black people......as much as Black American and British Men do.

I've also lived off and on in the United States for about 25 years...and the majority of the prejudice and hatred that I have experienced, as a Black African woman, being hurled at me....was from Black Males.

Anonymous black men who despise their own image looking back at them.

And there is nothing you can say to undo what....as an African woman....know about the pathological mental illness that grips this whole nation of men.

You trying to blame black women and accuse them of hating someone that they SHOULD HATE...if only they had the courage

...is laughable.

Me applauding Huey Newton for battering and abusing the black women who worked for him is not going to heal anybody.

You think I want him for a son?

And obviously, by your last question, you don't know JACK SHIT about what I do away from this board.

And frankly, I'm too weary from DOING to break it down for you.

So get on your knees and ask God if I give a shit about your opinion.



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Libralind2
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Libralind2

Post Number: 257
Registered: 09-2004

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Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 09:40 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You folks who keep beating on one another to make a point make me so sad.
LiLi

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