Boycotters Should Know Actual History Before They Boycott
Boycotting and protesting is an American tradition.
Whether one agrees with the protests or not, America was built on the rights of people to protest and voice their opinions.
Although I do not support the boycott of pop star Beyoncé or the planned boycott of the Academy Awards, I do support people’s right to do so.
However, there should be one requirement before people get involved in a boycott. That is to have all of their historical facts correct before participating.
A Detroit police officer is being probed for comparing Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance of the song “Formation” with dancers dressed as members of the Black Panther Party to a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rally.
“If the dance troupe at the top is okay for this year’s half-time show, then the one at the bottom should be okay for next year, right?”
The post had a picture of Beyoncé and her dancers in black leather outfits and black berets on top. While the picture on the bottom of the post had members of the Ku Klux Klan adorned in white sheets.
While the Black Panther Party were never choirboys and choirgirls or without controversy, some distinct facts separate them from the KKK.
According to The African American Encyclopedia, “Southerners had not yet reconciled to the ban of slavery and were skeptical of congressional legislation granting civil rights, political equality, and new opportunities for Blacks. Many hate groups were formed around this time in defense of what many people perceived to be the American way of life. Thus, the KKK was to become a secret army of hooded terrorists battling for the cause of White supremacy…
“Initially the target of the Klan’s rhetoric and violence were the Republican Party, U.S. Army or state militia officers, integrationist White schoolteachers, and Blacks who registered to vote or attended schools. Later, gang rapes, lynching, burning and other forms of violence were added to the Klan’s arsenal, bringing nationwide notoriety to Klan members.”
On the contrary, The African American Encyclopedia describes the origin of the Black Panther Party in totally different terms.
The encyclopedia stated, “In Oakland, Calif., a self-defense organization called the Community Alert Patrol was formed to ‘police the police’ in response to brutality against African Americans. It was in Oakland that a new organization was formed in October 1966, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale; the group initially named the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense…
“A ten-point party platform and program drafted by Newton and Seale included demands for political freedom, Black control of Black communities, full employment, better housing, education, community health, and an end to police brutality…
“The Panthers stressed Black cultural pride and promoted educational programs and other community initiatives, such as their popular free-breakfast-for-children program.”
The Black Panthers also stressed their second amendment rights to bear arms as well.
Their determination to defend themselves with arms and their admiration of Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X is what made them so feared by the U.S. government.
Their determination not to turn the other cheek is what made the FBI consider them a hate group.
And despite violent run-ins with law enforcement, the Black Panthers never advocated hate against their White brothers and sisters.
They even had support from left-wing White organizations.
They simply stood for Black pride, Black advancement and an end to police brutality by any means necessary.
On the contrary, the KKK stood for White supremacy.
The KKK stood for the lynching of Black people who stood up for their constitutional rights.
The KKK stood for cross burning.
The KKK stood for gang rapes and the murder of little Black children all in an effort to maintain White supremacy.
Although neither group is sin-free, their motives were miles apart.
Furthermore, critics are also upset that Beyoncé’s dancers formed the letter X in reverence to Malcolm X.
They are possibly mad because Malcolm X taught racism, violence and hatred for most of his years in the spotlight.
Those critics forget to acknowledge the epiphany Malcolm experienced in Mecca when he shared intimate spiritual moments with Muslims with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Before his assassination, he was distancing himself from the racism taught by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.
On the flip side, this country loves to pay homage to its former presidents.
Presidents’ Day is Feb. 15 and one of my favorite presidents was a former segregationist by the name of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Johnson changed his views and became the president that signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
If we can honor Johnson’s change of heart on race issues, we should also be able to honor Malcolm X’s change of heart as well.
While I disagree with the boycott of Beyoncé, I will blame the protestor’s anger on the fact that they do not have their historical facts straight when it comes to the Black Panthers and Malcolm X.
Once they know the real history, maybe their protest will be aimed at another target.