On May 2, 1967, a group of young African-Americans traveled to Sacramento, California with the intention of peacefully expressing their disgust with the recently proposed legislation of California Assemblyman Donald Mulford. Mulford’s “Panther Bill” was aimed at removing the guns that members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense were using during their vaunted “Panther Patrols”; the groups very first community service activity. On the above date, thirty Panthers arrived at the State Capitol, scared the crap out of then Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan, and then watched as Panther co-founder Bobby Seale read Executive Mandate #1 before a mesmerized conglomerate of news media that would broadcast the day’s events and unintentionally spread the Panther image throughout the nation.
History has recorded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to be the Vanguard of America’s highly-volatile 1960s political scene. Put simply, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a lightning rod for criticism and political repression. Despite such realities, the Panthers executed their State Capitol protest absent chaos or mayhem; a reality that is in many ways shocking as the Panthers were opposed in all that they did by a hodgepodge of law enforcement agencies: Oakland Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, not to mention the State of California and the U.S. Government.
I bring these realities to the forefront to highlight the difference in response that law enforcement agencies have when it comes to the activism of an organization such as the Black Panther Party, an organization that actually embraced a ‘rainbow coalition’ of not only people but also causes, and a rag tag group of avowed racists such as the Traditional Workers Party.
In case you have not heard about the Traditional Workers Party protest at the California State Capitol, this white supremacist group attempted to have some form of protest to articulate their racists’ views, however, they were confronted by an opposition force that attempted to mute their message. Make no mistake about it, both of these groups have a Constitutional Right to articulate their message, regardless of how detestable it may be, however, a major line was crossed when members of the Traditional Workers Party went well beyond political debate and according to Andrea Combs “Those Nazis just rushed over stabbed a couple of young men and then ran away. We didn’t see any cops chasing them, either.”
Unfortunately, law enforcement authorities related that they had not made any arrests as a result of the stabbings; two of the victims were African-American males. Opposing protestors’ anger increased after learning that officers had taken members of the Traditional Workers Party into the State Capitol to protect them from others.
Although I am certain that whites in general, and law enforcement agencies in particular do not care about such matters, however, their repeated murder of Black people in American streets and eagerness to protect white supremacists against hurt or harm only adds to a preexisting perspective of personal bias and favor toward such organizations. It personally reminds me of an assertion made by ardent segregationist J.B. Stoner in a communication to Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad that there would come a time when white supremacists were in charge of police departments, judicial systems, and mainstream political parties.
I applaud whites who have the courage to take a principled stand against the racist filth that we see so often from groups such as the Traditional Workers Party or emanating from a Presidential hopeful. What others fail to realize is that their failure to speak against such organizations and individuals simultaneously leads racists to believe that you are in their camp and pushes anti-racists to the same conclusion.
Although it may be a bit inconvenient and burdensome, it is important for good people to stand upon some principle, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Yes, Americans will disagree upon political matters; however, it is extremely important that we remain civil throughout the entire process. Not to mention there must be an equal application of the law and protection from law enforcement agencies.
Considering the historic actions of law enforcement agencies in regards to African-American activists, I am most certainly dreaming about equal protection under the law when it comes to Black Lives. Apparently J.B. Stoner was correct in his summation of the future and we as a nation are simply too afraid to admit it.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.