Thursday, October 19, 2006

Black Panthers 40th Anniversary & Their "Conservatism"

As polls, surveys and studies show a more independent-minded Black electorate, there is a brewing resurgence of Black conservatives who would like to point to this sudden political epiphany as some sort of mass conversion to conservatism. Baltimore Sun Columnist Gregory Kane joins that crew in his recent piece:

But on many of their core principles, the Panthers were the forerunners of today’s black conservatives.

We beg to differ on this, and not for the assumed reasons. It matters not if the Black Panthers were conservative or liberal - what matters most is whether they were effective. And: is the Black Panther model still relevant or useful today? Recent characterizations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and, now, the Black Panthers as conservatives only serve to undermine a community need to define its own political and ideological imperatives through its own lense. Why apply labels to causes and public figures if they themselves didn't even use it. Kane and others - on both sides of the aisle - are getting stuck in the ideological labels created and pushed by our White counterparts. Tread very carefully ...

The counter argument here is that Black people can't accept the "intrinsic" conservatism of the Black Panthers and Martin Luther King, Jr. because they are "misled" to believe that "conservatism" is a dirty word by Democrats, pop-culture and morally corrupt liberals. No - conservatism and liberalism are becoming dirty words because society is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the very negative and vicious partisan climate.