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Cover Image © Jacob Lund

My Black Perspective #21: Black Power

This post is a transition point into the last section of the My Black Perspective series. I have gone over many topics, and now we look at an enigma in the group: Black Power. I say that because, considering the state of Black America, it’s fair to question the term. What I’m about to share now and in the coming days is my view.

Context Lifted Straight from Wikipedia

I can’t say this any better, so I’ll make use of what’s on Wikipedia (first time using them this entire series — I tried)…

Black Power is a political slogan and a name which is given to various associated ideologies which aim to achieve self-determination for people of African descent. It is primarily, but not exclusively, used by African American activists and proponents of what the slogan entails in the United States. The Black Power movement was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture, promote and advance what was seen by proponents of the movement as being the collective interests and values of Black Americans.

The basis of Black Power is various ideologies, that aim at achieving self-determination for black people in the U.S. Black power dictates that blacks create their own identities despite being subjected to pre-existing societal factors.

“Black Power” in its original political sense expresses a range of political goals, from militant self-defense against perceived racial oppression to the establishment of social institutions and a self-sufficient economy, including black-owned bookstores, cooperatives, farms, and media. However, the movement has been criticized for alienating itself from the mainstream civil rights movement, for its apparent support of racial segregation, and for constituting black superiority over other races.”

Wikipedia: Black Power

That’s a fairly decent (very) high-level view of Black Power, right? I wasn’t around for it, but I know people who were – and going by their accounts, that feels pretty accurate.

Two things regarding Black Power:

  1. It is a monster of a topic to some and causes literal anxiety and erratic responses.
  2. It was never achieved.
A protest sign that reads Pro-Black isn't Anti-White

To get some idea about how it is received by certain portions of America now, and how it was likely received by the bulk of America back in its inception, I give you Laura Ingraham (you have to consume media from all over to get a more full picture, folks):

“From the February 16, 2021, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle” (Source: MediaMatters.org)

(I would argue that she doesn’t quite understand Systemic Racism, but that’s just me.)

And if you want some idea about why I say it was never achieved, I hear a lot of people talking about Judas and the Black Messiah these days — check it out.

Anyway, moving on.

Black Power Unrealized (Again)

I don’t like to look at the Black Power Movement in a vacuum. I think it was a remixed version of something that Black People in America have wanted for a long time: Equality & Sameness.

Whether you’re going all the way back to the violent revolt of Nat Turner in 1831, the economic attempts in Tulsa of the early 1900s, the Civil Rights Movement began in 1954, or the Black Lives Matter Movement of today — Black Power represents a variation in the execution of achieving desires as old as U.S. History itself (at least, the Black version): Black People wanting “their own” in some fashion.

(Take that how you will, because I intentionally leave it open to interpretation.)

A graphic that reads An Idea Cannot Be Destroyed.

But, like many things – I feel it was cut short to some degree. A U.S. President overturning reparation orders (which, when you read it – I’m not 100% sure Union General William T. Sherman had the authority to do), Black Leaders assassinated, U.S. laws and regulations no playing out in their favor, and so on.

Regardless of what Black Power was or is, I just don’t think it has ever been fully-realized at any point in American History, and I think the current economic standing of Black People in the U.S. is damning proof of that fact. But… I ultimately don’t blame anyone for that, Black or White. I think this attempt, among many others, fell short because of human nature all across the board.

You have White People looking out for themselves collectively (because they were in a position to do so). And you always end up with Black People looking out for themselves individually (because, historically, they may have felt they had no choice).

Those are the types inconvenient truths I want to confront in some of the last few posts of this series.

What Comes Next?

As I already wrote in the opening of this collection of posts…

“…[T]he last section will deal with honest looks in the mirror on challenges faced by the Black communities of America and certain mentalities we have to let go of and/or embrace. The necessary steps of organization & solidarity have to be addressed, along with figuring out what things people will take pride in going forward as they engage in different types of community building. All wrapping with comments regarding owning our narrative in this country, and where the nationwide momentum provided by Black Lives Matter could take things.”

Some Guy With an Afro

The last week or so of posts will deal heavily in my opinions and observations on certain topics (maybe even more so than I’ve currently been doing). I wanted to put this part last because some sections of it needed the context that’s been built up throughout this entire project.

Hopefully, what I’ll be sharing over the next week or so will be seen for what it is – “a guy sharing his opinion based on his own limited experiences” – and not my preaching that I have THE solution. Will there be recommendations and use of the word “should”? Yes. What’s the point of getting to this point in the subject matter if I don’t have a view I feel is worth sharing? Why even address it?

Maybe some others will share their opinions as well (either on the blog or privately – doesn’t make a difference to me). The reactions I’ve been getting to these posts have been inspiring and proof to me that there’s still tremendous potential for America as a whole.

I hope that when this is all done, maybe more people will view Black Power as something that can be encouraged for the betterment of our nation and the world altogether, and not some divisive self-serving crackpot dream that, in the words of Laura Ingraham (can’t believe I’m saying that), “is vindictive and counter-productive.” Hopefully, it doesn’t act as something that “drives a wedge not a conversation.”

Brooklyn, NY, USA June 4, 2020 Fits are raised in Brooklyn, New York during a Black Lives Matter protest.

We should talk about these things because they are conversations that need to be had.

Think of the centuries-old relationship between Black People and America in the same way that you would see a relationship between two people. If one of them constantly feels there’s an issue that needs to be discussed, and the other continuously downplays their voice and perspective to speak on the topic – or, even worse – the other person hears it out but refuses to do anything to address the grievance(s) of the relationship’s other half (gaslighting them in the process)… How do think that’s going to go? How healthy is that relationship? What do you think the one-sided pent-up frustration, anger, and eventual rage will lead to?

I think I’ll shut-up now.

Peace, and thanks for reading.

PS: This is officially the 100th post published on this blog!!
*Does Happy Dance* Seriously, thanks for reading.

 

The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– Cover Image © Jacob Lund (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 1 © hannahcampbell (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 2 © wow.subtropica (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 3 © James Kirkikis (Shutterstock)

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