On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release announcing that a black militant group, the “New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense”, is planning a massive nationwide event on Saturday, April 23.
The group named the organized event the “National Day of Action.” The ADL press release advised that the group, which the ADL described as “virulently anti-Semitic and racist”, plans to stage organized protests across the nation, in major cities such as Washington, New York, Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa, FL, Louisville, Los Angeles, and many others.
The ADL reported that the potential for militant activity and violence is very high, pointing out that the last event of the same scale in 1998 – the “Million Youth March” – resulted in a “clashes” with police.
What is the New Black Panther Party?
The New Black Panther Party actually has no affiliation to the original Black Panther Party, made famous during the 1960s and 1970s for taking more of a militant approach against racism in America, as opposed to the larger Civil Rights movement which has always maintained a stance that peaceful protest accomplishes greater change.
Another significant difference was that the Civil Rights movement focused on equality, while the Black Panther party focused on "Black Power" - the empowerment of the Black community.
In 1989, an activist by the name of Aaron Michaels established the "New" Black Panther Party and in 1990, held a press conference to announce the creation of the "Black Panther Militia". Since then, the group went on to stage a number of protests and events that made it into the media limelight.
-->In 1998, after the chairman of a school board in Philadelphia referred to black students as "little niggers," Michaels called on NBPP to stage a protest with shotguns and rifles.
-->The same year, after the hate-crime murder of James Byrd, Jr in Texas, the group mobilized to protest once again.
-->In 2006, after an African American stripper accused three white Duke University students of gang rape, the NBPP set out to pressure the DA to prosecute and convict all three students. It turned out the three students were wrongfully accused.
Aside from confrontational rhetoric about race - with statements about everything from the extermination of whites in Africa to regular verbal attacks against Jewish groups and individuals - the only real militant activity one can point to was the Million Youth March in 1998. The truth is that even that event wasn't very violent at all.
At the march, NBPP national chairman Khalid Abdul Muhammad encouraged the crowd to attack any police officer that tried to confiscate NBPP weapons. Other than a few objects thrown at police, the actual level of violence was minimal and no one was seriously hurt.
In the 2008 voter intimidation case in Philadelphia, after shouting offensive racial comments to voters, police escorted away the NBPP member that was holding a nightstick. Again - no violence.
Nationwide Anti-Jewish Event
While leaders of the Anti-Defamation League are legitimately offended by the majority of hateful comments made by NBPP members, the implication by the ADL that the nationwide events planned for tomorrow might turn violent is misleading.
In its Thursday press release, the ADL reported:
"The New Black Panther Party (NBPP), the largest organized anti-Semitic and racist Black militant group in America, has used troubling language to describe several of the events. The group has stated that opposing Jews and 'Zionism' is one of the 'pressing issues' they wish to address, among myriad other social and political issues. Its leadership has also made threats of militant action in some cities, with one NBPP leader recommending that children attending the Philadelphia event wear bicycle helmets and another claiming that 'we are trained and ready here in Killadelphia.'"
However, based on the group's history, NBPP members are far more interested in spouting politically-incorrect rhetoric and racist propaganda in order to garner media attention, rather than actually launching any sort of violent action against authorities or other people. To date, there have been no cases of NBPP members attacking or seriously injuring the racial groups that they target with their speech.
Unfortunately, the ADL's press release may backfire as it feeds directly into the media-hungry hands of NBPP leaders that are organizing the events.
As they say - any publicity is good publicity.