Tag Archives: Bobby Seale

How Cam Newton’s Black Power Salute Exposes How Little We Know About the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

One of the most unfortunate by-products of being an African-American Studies Professor is that it seemingly invites a vast array of individuals with varying levels of historical knowledge to discuss various Race matters with you. Far too often, I find myself at the center of what evolves into contentious debates that would not be an issue at all if my challengers had any understanding of African-American history. The most recent incident occurred in the wake of Cam Newton raising a “Black Power fist” that reminds one of the mid-sixties Black Power Era.

The alluded to individual was exhilarated by Newton’s gesture; however, that euphoria dissipated when Newton later expounded on why he made the polarizing gesture. According to Newton,

The message is unity for me, black, white, different minorities around America. That’s my message. I want everybody to come together. We get nowhere separated. People feeling oppressed and people that are rich looking down on other people, you don’t get nowhere with that. We all are created equal. We need to find some kind of way to come together to make the situation better. Because where we’re going now, it’s not healthy at all.

It would not be an overstatement to state that the so-called “conscious” brother mentioned above was disgusted with what he considered Newton’s failure to stand firm for the Race. The referenced disgust was verbalized via derogatory name-calling.

As I expected, this “conscious” brother turned his attention toward me. Let me first say that I routinely avoid such engagements as those seeking my perspective have already made their minds up regarding the incident. I have found that the most unproductive discussions that I have had regarding racial matters involved individuals seeking to claim the vacated mantle of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

Trust me when I say that the vast majority of people who aspire to replicate legendary Black Power Era figures of yesteryear — Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, and Fred Hampton — know little about the ideological underpinnings that supported their revolutionary platforms. Instead of studying the revolutionary polemics of such individuals that highlight the impact that Capitalism has had on race, class, and gender within Black America, they rely on a menagerie of innuendo, rumor, and Youtube videos that produce little more than sophomoric “hate whitey” phrase-mongering.

It is this understanding that the individual that was seeking to engage me regarding Cam Newton’s “Black Power fist” gesture knew little about Panther ideology that led me to avoid what was destined to be a significant debate regarding the matter. Prior discussions had already taught me that such individuals have no comprehension that the Black Panther Party was able to be pro-black without being anti-white, particularly when it came to poor and working-class whites who were being exploited by Capitalism.

If those seeking to claim the Vanguard position of the African-American Freedom Struggle and walk in the steps of the Huey P. Newton led Black Panther Party had a real understanding of Panther ideology, they would have embraced Cam Newton’s insinuation that this nation needs a “rainbow coalition” of activists to address persisting socioeconomic equalities throughout the entire nation and recognized that at that very moment Newton was channeling the spirit of Fred Hampton. It was the Chairman of the Chicago branch of the Black Panther Party that initially used the phraseology of a “rainbow coalition” well before Jesse Jackson stole the term. If they cared to study, aspiring Panthers would understand that Hampton’s call for “Black Power for black people, White Power for white people, Brown Power for brown people, Red Power for red people, and Yellow Power for yellow people” was not a betrayal of the Race, rather a clear sign of political sophistication that eludes contemporary black leaders and theoreticians.

A figure such as Cam Newton should be applauded for his statement as it signals an uncanny understanding that it is Capitalism that we must fight against, not white people in general. It is the study of relevant materials that is most sorely needed in today’s black freedom movement and not a fixation on iconic images such as Panthers carrying guns and Angela Davis’ Afro. Until this latest generation of black freedom fighters realize that it is Capitalism, not White America that is the true enemy of our people, we will continue being busy and achieving very little as we continue our grandest tradition of failing to understand that it is the destruction of exploitive Capitalism that is the actual goal and not the overthrow of the prevailing racial order so that Black America could have her vengeance in oppressing those that have exploited her for so very long.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017


We were saying that poor people should rally and organize against an oppressive government which oppressed us because we were poor, not just because we were black, but because we were poor. See, they could hear all the buy black, do black, think black, be black, black on, and black power. They could hear that, they didn’t care about that part. It was when poor niggers started talking about class struggle that they got frightened. And not just talked about it, but did something…No. They were worried about ignorant, poor niggers on the streets with guns talking about the haves and the have-nots.

(Ericka Huggins)

It is most certainly a daunting proposition to be born black in a schizophrenic nation whose creation was made possible by the enslavement of stolen Africans yet steadily reminds its citizenry that racial matters are relatively inconsequential. Despite what American powerbrokers have repeatedly attempted to assert over the past several centuries, race still somewhat matters.

In many ways, it is surprising that in a nation where an elite class of white power-brokers has risen to power by exploiting all non-elites regardless of racial classification or ethnic identity that racial struggle and pride has not been abandoned by all. Nonetheless, Race remains the rallying point for American groups. Considering the overwhelming influence of Race in America, one is hard-pressed to dispute one of Malcolm X’s most truthful assertions of U.S. racial matters. In an often forgotten moment of commentary regarding the melting of new immigrants into the American fabric of whiteness, Malcolm X remarked that “the first word that European immigrants learn when they come to Ellis Island is Nigger!” From the perspective of Black America, “Nigger” was the secret password that allowed the Irish, Polish, and every other new immigrant group to cloak themselves in a socially constructed and politically expedient cover of bland whiteness. Unfortunately, whites have much company in allowing Race to serve as a rallying point for politico-economic solidarity.

Consider for a moment that racial matters are so central to the vision of black leaders’ that their followers would certainly abandon their camp if they ever de-emphasized racial issues for another variable such as Class. Put simply; within the African-American freedom struggle, any discussion not exclusively focused on Race is not only ridiculed but also dismissed as utter foolishness by an unproductive revolutionary cadre fixated on Race. Black America’s so-called revolutionary class fails to realize that their obsessive focus on Race significantly marginalizes their status as revolutionaries seeking to liberate their person from the misery and sorrow that attaches itself to the economically exploited in any Capitalist nation. Although Black revolutionaries must for their mental comfort resist the insinuation that their efforts to liberate Black America from its centuries-long marginalized status are not only futile but also poses no threat to power-brokers, the fact that power-brokers rarely respond to their efforts should serve as a major indicator of they being on the incorrect path. If they were engaged in the revolutionary process, power-brokers would react in a real manner to their activities. Just ask the remaining leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense if my words are correct.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of my having studied the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for the past twenty years has been the internal angst that occurs when I engage groups and individuals who have convinced themselves that they are some way a continuation of the original Panthers that Huey Percy Newton and Bobby Seale co-founded on October 15, 1966, in Oakland, California. After the publication of my book on the Black Panther Party titled Creating Revolution as they Advance was completed, I received the honor of being invited to participate in panel discussions and deliver lectures over the Black Power Era and the vaunted Panther Party; the Vanguard of America’s highly-volatile sixties protest culture.

Although I wish that I could say otherwise, the vast majority of the panel discussions that I have participated in have only highlighted how little many of the individuals who have desperately attempted to seize the Panther’s revolutionary mantle know about organizational principles and philosophies.

One of the most telling signs that many of the modern reiterations of the Black Panther Party are uninformed regarding Panther philosophies is their disproportionate focus on racial matters and utter silence regarding far more impacting class issues. This current cadre of Panthers fails to realize that the path to revolution is not found in the arena of Race, rather class warfare. Despite their inability to recognize it, the poverty that has enveloped so many Americans should be the rallying call to action, not a clumsy attempt by one group of poor people to take the limited resources that other poor people have gained temporary access to.

The failure to accentuate Class over Race reveals present-day Panthers as intellectual lightweights who have yet to find their way to the revolutionary road; such individuals remain mesmerized by icons and symbols such as guns, leather jackets, and berets that mean very little in regards to revolutionary struggle. Contemporary Panthers are seemingly enchanted by the seductive siren known as Race.

Consider for a moment why J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, directed the overwhelming majority of Bureau resources toward the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s destruction. Is the answer to this query found in the Panther’s carrying weapons? Most certainly not! If that were the case, then the Deacons for Defense and Justice or Revolutionary Action Movement — two other black groups that openly carried weapons in defense of their community — would have received similar treatment. The answer to why the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was singled out over their activist contemporaries is ironically their decision to de-emphasize racial matters and accentuate class issues that are more meaningful in a capitalist society.

Consider for a moment the following recollection of Panther leader Ericka Huggins regarding why J. Edgar Hoover’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) singled-out the Panthers for the brunt of their repressive activities. Huggins recalls that,

We were saying that poor people should rally and organize against an oppressive government which oppressed us because we were poor, not just because we were black, but because we were poor. See, they (the FBI) could hear all the buy black, do black, think black, be black, black on, and black power. They (the FBI) could hear that, they didn’t care about that part. It was when poor niggers started talking about class struggle that they got frightened. And not just talked about it, but did something…No. They (the FBI) were worried about ignorant, poor niggers on the streets with guns talking about the haves and the have nots.

If nothing else, J. Edgar Hoover understood the inherent dangers that would eventually manifest from Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale’s teachings regarding the exploitative nature of capitalism and the need for an inter-racial coalition of like-minded organizations to combat this odd beast that threatened all of humanity.

American power-brokers realized that the Panthers pursuit of like-minded groups interested in overthrowing Capitalist America was a unique and significant threat to their existence. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that Huey P. Newton’s manifestation as a revolutionary theoretician that managed to emphasize class issues without totally dismissing the impact of racial matters made him the most dangerous man in America, one capable of being a messianic figure capable of unifying not only the black movement, but also creating productive coalitions with like-minded groups of varying races and ethnicities.

To the chagrin of his opponents, Newton displayed an uncanny willingness to forge alliances with groups seeking to destroy American Capitalism, regardless of their race/ethnicity or sexual orientation. Therein lays the reason that J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO selected the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for the bulk of their repressive activities. Unfortunately, contemporary “revolutionaries” are still entangled in a “racial bag” that limits their ability to conceive innovative activities. One thing is for certain until the new Panthers are able to unlearn the draconian lessons of their oppressor, they will never reach, let alone travel down the revolutionary road.


Dr. James Thomas Jones III

And You Call Yourself a Panther?: The Hate-Filled Dead-End Road that Cultural Nationalist Routinely Travel

It is amazing that the same problems afflicting the African-American protest community 50 years ago remain prevalent to the present day. I am confident that most people think that I am referring to the dogged refusal of America’s leading cancers — prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and racism — to excuse themselves from “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
If those are your thoughts, you are going to be disappointed to learn that I am not alluding to the pernicious evils mentioned above as I am attempting to address an ever-present danger found within the black activist community. The evil I speak of is the continuing tendency of Cultural Nationalists to haphazardly denigrate and mischaracterize all whites as a monolithic population whose sole political priority is to retard African-American politico-economic progress.

I am honest by relating that I have yet to find the words to express my frustrations with the manner that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s legacy of racial progressivism has been co-opted and revamped to fit the needs of contemporary “activists.” Unfortunately, the activists mentioned above are absent a political platform capable of addressing the pernicious evils affecting the black community. The alluded to individuals believe that an integral part of revolutionary politics is not political mobilization or economic solidarity, rather they seek to advance their understanding of the black agenda via “hate-speech.”

Make no mistake about it, the re-surfacing of imagery intentionally designed to stir up memories of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPPSD) by individuals lacking even a superficial understanding of either the Panthers political platforms or historical experiences has needlessly marred the Panther legacy for counter-revolutionary self-serving purposes. The legacy left by Huey, Bobby, Eldridge, Kathleen, Lil’ Bobby, Bunchy, Fred, Geronimo, Elaine, and those who made up the Panther cadre deserve so much more than what contemporary manifestations of the Panther Party are providing.

What makes the denigration of the Panther image so painful is that if those behind the many attempts to resurrect the Panthers had taken a moment to study BPPSD ideology, they would have quickly discerned that Huey P. Newton opposed any effort to characterize other activist communities, including the white community, as being monolithic. Those who have studied Huey realize that he was not only a genius but also used that mental acumen to in a wise and judicious manner. Consider for a moment, that the Panthers, at the behest of Eldridge “Papa Rage” Cleaver, forged an alliance with the Peace and Freedom Party, a group of white radicals, because it served the interests of the Party at that particular moment. The Panthers are a great example of the utility of alliances and coalitions with like-minded groups, regardless of their race/ethnicity. Those who disagree with the above assertion know little about both the Panther legacy and the black struggle for racial equality.

Unfortunately, phrase-mongering rabble-rousing Cultural Nationalists who are quick to speak, yet slow to study, are not only comfortable spewing vitriolic hatred, but also often encouraged to do such by adoring audiences. Little do they know, that such a backward political stance stunts their political power as it alienates all around them regardless of race, class, or gender.

I have dealt with Cultural Nationalists long enough to know that they will both ignore and deny an easily accessible historical record that proves that inter-racial alliances were a hallmark of the BPPSD. It is for this population that does not mind existing under a yoke that is equal parts illogical and shockingly uninformed that I include the following quote by BPPSD co-founder Huey P. Newton.
According to Newton, the African-American activist community “…must also be able to realize that there are white people, brown people, red people, yellow people in this world who are totally dedicated to the destruction of this system of oppression, and we welcome that. We will always be open to working with that.

I am quite confident that luminaries of the African-American freedom struggle such as Newton, Hampton, Baldwin, Du Bois, and King are rolling over in their graves at the ascension of a black political platform that rests upon nothing more than divisive hate-filled rhetoric. Put simply; such rhetoric not only fails to represent black leaders who came before us, but also guarantees that none of the previous mutually beneficial alliances that aided our community in its pursuit of liberation are possible today. Contemporary so-called black leaders have efficiently placed themselves in a box of irrelevancy that they cannot escape.
Despite the euphoria that many of these new activists feel after hearing a profanity-laced rant against some yet to be identified “white man,” the truth of the matter is that such rhetoric serves as a highly imperfect substitute for a well-thought out political agenda. Not to mention that such hate-speech has yet to move the struggle forward one iota. Trust me when I say that it never has and it never will.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017


I am confident that this will sound peculiar to most; however, it nevertheless needs to be said. One of the most visible signs that the political priorities of white progressives have altered dramatically in regards to the fight for racial equality is their declining relationship with African-American groups agitating for “the liberation and salvation of the Black nation.”

If the recent Presidential election did not definitively prove that the “White Left” has abandoned their natural political terrain, their bpp-pfpgradual drift from a principled position regarding racial reconciliation definitively proves this point. As a historian who has dedicated his life to the study of American Race Relations, it is evident to me that the disappearance of the “White Left’s” voluminous presence in the struggle for racial equality is extremely disappointing. The current absence of a definitive white radical presence in the fight against this nation’s standard racial issues speaks volumes about shifting political priorities among white Leftists. In fact, their silence in the face of ever-increasing racial disparities ‘speaks’ volumes.

As a student of American race relations, I found it startling to witness increased intra-movement ethnic conflict among so-called black and white progressives. It appears that the racial cooperation that undergirded sixties activism is a relic of the past. Long gone are mutually beneficial relationships between groups such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the Peace and Freedom Party whose primary desire was bringing power to the people.

Unfortunately, such progressivism has yielded to a contemporary activist scene whose absence of historical literacy fuels a shockingly DALLAS PANTHERS 2unrefined xenophobic impulse that encourages their public articulation of political positions that are outrageously antagonistic to potential coalition partners. Things have gotten so bad among today’s descendants of white radicalism and the Black Power era that they have publicly vowed never to work with one another. This shocking position is counter-productive considering that they both realize that they are often facing the same enemy who gleefully exploits progressives’ disorganization to further their exploitation of America’s poor and working-class.

What an unfortunate moment in time that we exist within.

Despite the unwise posture of non-cooperation that so many Black Nationalist leaders and so-called white progressive groups have chosen, the historical record regarding the path to racial equality is evident; it takes black and white progressives alike to move this nation closer to racial justice.

A recent New Black Panther Party meeting provided voluminous clarity regarding the state of non-cooperation among radicals. I noticed that there was not a single white progressive present. I am certain that white radicals absence had as much to do with their shifting political priorities as it did with the bitter race-based hatred spewed from a roster of race-baiting orators featured at this event. The tone and tenor of the speeches blared that whites were neither welcome nor needed in either this latest expression of Black Nationalist politics or the achievement of racial equality.

I intently listened as these ‘brothers and sisters’ decked out in paramilitary gear ranted against whites via a host of colorful descriptors that would have shamed and embarrassed original Panther leaders such as Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale, and Assata Shakur.

I left this event with a gnawing feeling that every segment of today’s ‘Left’ is woefully ignorant of the coalition building that has always been crucial to progress on America’s racial frontier. The alluded to bpp-sdshistorical illiteracy not only compromises the activism of today’s leftists but also emboldens and strengthens their opponents. There is no doubt that this latest reiteration of the Black Panther Party is unaware of the original Panthers working relationship with white radical groups such as the Peace and Freedom Party and Students for a Democratic Society for logical mutually-beneficial reasons. Unfortunately, their ignorance regarding the utility of coalitions and alliances with those fighting against the same enemy curtails their activist impulses and delays the achievement of all goals. I am left wondering, are black and white ‘Leftists’ fighting for the same goals anymore? It is sad that such a question has to be presented, and even more disappointing that I cannot offer a definitive answer to this mundane question.

Fight the Power

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016

Floyd Meets the New Black Panther Party

When you really think about it, the creation of traditions is actually a very peculiar thing. I don’t think that anyone sets out to start a Bert Williams 3tradition, they just seem to appear. Consider for a moment that neither Floyd nor I planned on creating a tradition, however, there is absolutely no doubt that we have a tradition, or maybe a better word would be pattern, of meeting at a moment’s notice at some of Houston’s most unusual places.

I will let you guess whose decision it was to meet in a doughnut shop located next to a police station in Houston’s Energy Corridor.

As with most of his decisions, even impromptu meetings such as this one had some type of some catalyst behind them. This constantly evolving catalyst determined not only Floyd’s desire to meet, but also where we would meet. If provided sufficient time, Floyd never failed to explain the why and where behind our gatherings. So I am certain that you can understand the natural questions that arose when Floyd related that he thought it would be best if we met at a doughnut shop located next to a police station.

When I received Floyd’s call requesting an “emergency meeting”, I did not hesitate to rush to the location. During our relatively brief phone conversation, Floyd related that he was already at the doughnut shop and awaiting my arrival. Apparently, Floyd had much to share.

I hurriedly navigated my vehicle down the always pothole filled street of Richmond Avenue toward the destination. Although I thought the choice of a doughnut shop was particularly peculiar, even for Floyd, I also knew that there was some logic behind its selection.

As soon as I entered the bustling business that was hilariously filled with law enforcement officers consuming various pastry treats, my eyes fell upon Floyd dressed in a black leather jacket, black beret, black slacks, and a wrinkled powder blue shirt with a torn collar.

Once I arrived at Floyd’s table in the far corner of the doughnut shop, I noticed that his signature shiny shoes were scuffed beyond belief. I made a mental note regarding the shoes because there was only one reason that Floyd’s shoes would not be impeccable, that being his involvement in some type of physical altercation with someone, somewhere.

As I sat across from Floyd, it was even more obvious that he had been on the losing side of a physical altercation. I am certain that my concern was written across my face, however, my countenance failed to dim that darn ‘foolish grin’. I had come to expect the ‘foolish grin’ as it was rarely missing from Floyd’s face. That bemused look conveyed to all who saw it that Floyd held a secret that he would never share with the outside world.

Floyd acknowledged my arrival with a slight head nod before pointing in the direction of the long line of officers waiting to place their order. Floyd flippantly commented,

I guess it is true that THEY love doughnuts.

I could only shake my head at Floyd’s humorous observation regarding the droves of officers’ crammed inside of the doughnut shop. As I settled into the simple wooden folding chair across from Floyd, he quipped,

This is just what I need, a foolproof business idea like putting a doughnut shop right next to a police station. How could you lose?

I just stared at Floyd’s shiny bald head; knowing that he would never muster the courage to start his own business. From my perspective, people like Floyd preferred to remain on the sidelines and take potshots at those who engaged in ventures that they were too afraid to tackle.

Considering that this was an unexpected “emergency meeting”, I needed for it to be a relatively brief encounter as I had other duties scheduled for the day. Although I knew that it was an exercise in futility to attempt to rush Floyd, I did try to push him toward revealing why he needed this impromptu meeting by asking,

Why are we meeting in a doughnut shop?

Considering Floyd’s prior foolishness, I braced myself for some illogical reason regarding why he selected this location. Floyd did not disappoint when he answered my query in between sips of coffee that a pretty Asian waitress had recently refilled,

This is the safest place that I know! And I definitely need protection at this particular moment.

Floyd knew very well how to pique my interest, and he had most certainly done just that by suggesting that he “needed protection”. I wondered what kind of foolishness Floyd had gotten himself into that made him feel that he needed protection?

Although the paths that Floyd could have taken to get in trouble were endless, maybe he had attempted to swindle someone out of their money or more likely he had been caught fooling around with someone’s girlfriend or wife. Prior to Floyd answering, my intuition told me that it was the latter as Floyd was always seeking to have some type of underhanded dealings with the fairer sex.

Before I could speak, Floyd jumped in and said,

I know what you’re thinking. My situation doesn’t involve a Lady and no I haven’t stolen anything. I may be many things, but a thief ain’t one of them. I was actually trying to do good this time and done got mixed up with a group of certified fools.

Now that I think about it, I blame you for this entire fix.

My only reply was an incredulous,

What? Why do you blame me, yet again, for your troubles? Hell, I wasn’t even there when whatever happened, happened.

Floyd was most certainly anticipating my response and wasted little time explaining how I led him into harm’s way.

You are always saying, Floyd you need to read more and help people out if you can, blah, blah, blah. Now I dare you to say that you don’t! God will strike your black ass down right now! Well, I followed your advice to read more and help others. I subscribed to not only your blog (www.ManhoodRaceCulture.com), but also have begun religiously reading your work.

Although I was still puzzled about what Floyd was trying to convey, things became much clearer when he reached into the black leather briefcase that he often carried and retrieved an editorial I had written months prior. The piece focused upon a group of African-Americans in Dallas, Texas, who were attempting to re-create the Vanguard of the Black Power Era; The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

As Floyd began to talk, I thought that the most prudent thing that I could do was sit back and listen. One thing became immediately clear, Floyd was eager to talk.

You know how you are always talking about helping the community and stuff like that?

I nodded my head affirmatively.

Well, that is what I decided to do. You know how you are always saying that our community needs to take care of its own and whatnot? Well, I went down to join a group that I already knew a thing or two about, the Black Panther Party.

That tidbit of information brought significant clarity to this entire situation, at least when it came to Floyd’s dress; it explained why he was wearing a black leather jacket during this sweltering July heat wave that Houstonians endure on an annual basis. Desperate to hold in my laughter, I asked Floyd the following,

So you went and joined the Black Panther Party?”

It was at that moment that Floyd finally diverted his attention from the doughnut shop’s front door that he had been watching like a hawk and transformed his gaze into a belittling side-eye look that communicated his utter disgust with me.

You do know that I was a Panther? Yes, I worked with Huey and Bobby on several community service projects. The free breakfast Huey and Bobbyprogram, I was there! The free grocery program, I was there! Sickle Cell Anemia testing, I was there! The killing of Lil’ Bobby Hutton, I was there! Free Huey campaign, I was there! The killing of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, I was there! Assata Shakur’s escape from prison, well I was supposed to be there but they left before I arrived.

Although I doubted Floyd’s claim that he was present at each of these events, however, I was too intrigued to disrupt his flow.

So I thought that I would be a natural fit for the New Black Panther Party. If nothing else, I could advise these youngsters on how we did things during the Black Power Era. Boy was I wrong!!!!!! Those damn fools, and yes I do mean damn fools, have absolutely nothing in common with The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense that I used to belong to. In fact, they need to change their name to something other than the Black Panther Party because it’s false advertising.

With each passing sentence, Floyd became increasingly agitated. As expected, he found a way to blame me for his negative experience. Apparently, in one of my columns, I referred to the New Black Panther Party as “the re-incarnation of the original Panthers.”

Apparently it was my use of the word re-incarnation that led Floyd astray. Floyd took my characterization of the group literally and assumed that they were seeking to replicate the original Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale led Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s political platform and community service activities.

Floyd jabbed his stubby little fingers in my direction as he angrily charged, “Re-incarnation? Re-incarnation? Man, them niggas have nothing in common with the Black Panther Party that I belonged to.

I let Floyd continue.

First off, it is bad enough that they not only do not have any community service programs, these fools don’t have any plans to develop any. From what I could tell, they simply plan to march around with their guns and try to scare white folk.

It was obvious that none of them niggas had even a basic understanding of what the Panther Party stood for, neither Huey P. Newton nor Bobby Seale were avowed racists. Hell, we worked with anyone, regardless of race, creed, or color. All that we required was for them to be fighting against oppression.”

Having entered into full theatrical mode, Floyd was speaking loud enough for the entire doughnut shop filled with law enforcement officers to hear his woes. I looked in the direction of the officers assembled in the room as a way of giving Floyd a non-verbal suggestion to lower his voice; however, it failed miserably as Floyd became even louder.

“Hell, them crazy niggas are the reason that I chose to meet at this doughnut shop. You know that I just hate to see people making a DALLAS PANTHERSfool of themselves, so I attempted to explain to ‘the Panthers’ the error in their ways. What thanks did I get for my contribution? Man, those nuts tried to jump on ol’ Floyd. Look at the collar of my shirt, man. And this was my good shirt.

By the time I was able to escape from these fools, yes, you heard me right, escaped. I had to take off running down the street to get away from them; they were chasing after me and yelling that they were going to kill me if they ever saw me around there again.

I am telling you that they are a bunch of nutty niggas; one of them fools had the nerve to say that I was an FBI informant sent by J. Edgar Hoover. Doesn’t that Brother know that J. Edgar Hoover been dead since 1972? It is the twenty-first century and those damn fools are still talking about Hoover and the Counter Intelligence Program.”

By this time, the entire doughnut shop was looking our way as an energized Floyd theatrically accentuated each syllable of his story by pounding his fist on the small black and white table separating us.

Although I thought that the entire episode was hilarious, I resisted the growing urge to burst into laughter with all of my might. Everything from Floyd’s torn collar, his ill-fitting Panther uniform, which he most certainly wore during his initial stint with the Party, to his choice of meeting place now made sense. Floyd had thoroughly convinced himself that members of the New Black Panther Party were going to honor their threat to kill him.

Floyd could tell by the look on my face that I was particularly amused by his failed attempt at becoming a modern-day Black militant.

Although I thought the story was hilarious, there was a significant part of me who considered it unfortunate that he had such a negative experience. I did my best to reassure him that the New Black Panther Party was not a real threat to his personal safety; however, there was no dissuading him from such thoughts. Floyd truly felt that his life was in danger from what he termed a group of “nutty niggas”.

As I rose from my seat and prepared to exit the doughnut shop, a frightened and pitiful looking Floyd requested that I remember this story just in case, as he put it, “I meet an untimely demise.” I simply shook my head, slapped Floyd on the shoulder and told him, “I will see you later” while doing my best to hold my laughter in.

Fortunately, I managed to hold it until I got outside.

Excerpt from the book,

Foolish Floyd: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian (Volume 1)

Available at Amazon

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016