24 January 2004

The Hype Is Always Present

Despite the Freedom of Information Act that declassifies government documents and makes them available to the general public (however heavily redacted), there are still references to the Black Panther Party as a violent hate group. Though to the average non-thinker this issue may seem unimportant, it is quite the opposite. We cannot do better as a society if we refuse to learn from the not too distant past. . . learn from the mistakes of a government we support.

Since September 11, 2001, there has been unabashed public support for fascist tactics against U.S. citizens, like those used in the government program formerly named COINTELPRO. The misinformation spread during the height of the civil rights era (and beyond) is still generally accepted as truth by too many otherwise educated Americans.

"In November 1968, J. Edgar Hoover dispatched a Memorandum calling upon his field agents "to exploit all avenues of creating... dissention within the ranks of the BPP" and stating that "recipient offices are instructed to submit imaginative and hard hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling the BPP."
  • "The FBI systematically released disinformation to the press and electronic media, concerning groups and individuals, designed to discredit them and foster tensions." Churchill, p. 43.

  • "The repeated arrest of targeted individuals...to simply harass, increase paranoia, tie up activists in a series of... courtroom procedures, and deplete their resources through the postings of numerous bail bonds (as well as the retention of attorneys)." Churchill, p. 44

  • "...people paid by the FBI to join the Black Panther Party and to "disrupt the internal functioning of targeted groups and to assist in the spread of disinformation...or engaging in illegal activities which could then be attributed to key organizational members and/or the organization as a whole." Churchill, p. 47.

  • "A widely used FBI tactic has been the fabrication of evidence for criminal prosecution of key individuals" and withholding of information that would show the innocence of the Panthers. Churchill, p. 51.
  • .:Link:.

    One will always be susceptible to the belief that we (people of African descent) are inherently criminal and inferior without analytical thinking. Looking around at movies, television programs and music, one can see that too often we unquestioningly accept the idea that we are all the negative stereotypes they (caucasians, some non-blacks) say that we are— it's called 'internalized oppression', but I always refer to it as 'internalized hostility'.

    It's manifested in the way we relate to each other with antagonism, distrust each other, make disparaging jokes about a lack of intelligence of the group, and lay claim to negative behaviors that are, in fact, behaviors exhibited by the entire society in which we live. Way back when there was a saying coined to address the negative press we get: Don't believe the hype!

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