In class we learned about the Black Panthers and their more militarized and hostile approach to the Civil rights movement. In a certain sense the Black Panther Party brought the concept of Black power to its fullest extent using guns to implement the idea of self defense and focusing on raising specific black communities out of poverty on their own without help from white America. The Black Panthers seemed quite attractive to African American’s living unequal economic situations. The Panthers spoke with an understanding of those who grew up and lived in the American ghettos. It is with this fact that I have to ask about the effectiveness of these seemingly hostile methods then, and today.
I have grown up with a belief in the idea of violent confrontation and attacking one verbally instead of in a constructive manner is useless. We live in a defensive society, if someone come out and strait up attacks your beliefs than you are going to be defensive and not give in, even if you know the other person is right. From our learning it seems as though the Black Panther Party does exactly this, attacking the white system rather than confronting it a way that inspires dialogue. While these tactics may help for a little while it seems as though violence always comes back in return. When the Black Panthers in Oakland started following police around with guns they seemed to make a statement but cause lots more violence because they provoked police officers.
I believe that the Black Panther movement was important in that their actions brought attention to issues, but with that attention that seemed to cause more conflict. There are of course some good aspects of the Black Panthers that I am not mentioning. Their philanthropic service to Black communities cannot go unnoticed, but it is often this aspect that does go unnoticed because the other aspect provokes a defense that is unfortunately stronger that the Black Panthers themselves. In a way it could be said that in some issues the Black Panthers could have even brought the movement backwards in that it created a feeling of hate among many whites rather than a willingness to comply with their demands.
Many of these statements are of course speculation on my part but I guess the main question that has to be asked is how effective violent and highly confrontational actions were and if they directly produced results?