July 08, 2010

I’m a big fan of black hate groups, at least from a theatrical perspective. And when it comes to hateful theatrics, the New Black Panther Party are no slouches. These cats are so extreme, even the Southern Poverty Law Center won”€™t give them a free pass merely because they”€™re black.

Employing a blurry mishmash of Islam, communism, and full-throttle cracker-bashing, the NBPP is not an officially sanctioned successor to the 1960s Black Panther group and has even been criticized by members of the old guard. Founded in the late 1980s with FREEDOM OR DEATH as their motto, the new group gained momentum in the 1990s after making Khalid Abdul Muhammad”€”a dark-chocolate chrome-dome who was reputedly ejected from the Nation of Islam for making statements that seemed intemperate even to Farrakhan’s minions”€”its national chairman. Mr. Muhammad has since passed on to that Great Street Corner Soapbox in the Sky, but the New Black Panthers continue to agitate in a manner that, to this cracker at least, seems far less heroic and much douchier than that of their 1960s forebears.

The neo-Panthers”€™ Philadelphia leader is a man who actually calls himself “Minister King Samir Shabazz,” although I doubt that’s what his mother called him. He sports dreadlocks and wears a Guevara-chic beret with paramilitary garb. He even has the word KING tattooed over one eyebrow and SAMIR over the other. (Strain as I might, it’s difficult to take a self-appointed political figure seriously when his name’s tattooed over his eyebrows.)

Mr. Shabazz is not shy about sharing his feelings regarding the melanin-impaired descendants of European cavepersons: “I’m about the total destruction of white people…I hate white people! All of them! Every last iota of a cracker, I hate him…You gonna have to kill some crackers! You gonna have to kill some of they [sic] babies! Let us get our act together!”

On November 4, 2008″€”the day American voters elected their first sorta-black president”€”Shabazz and fellow New Black Panther Jerry Jackson were filmed standing in front of a polling station in an overwhelmingly black Philadelphia neighborhood. Both were clad in military gear, but Shabazz, repeatedly referred to in court documents as “the shorter man,” was also toting what appeared to be a nightstick. A hand-held video of the pair standing menacingly outside the polling station was uploaded online and viewed by millions.

On that day, the pair o”€™ Panthers had also reportedly told Republican poll watcher Chris Hill that “white power don”€™t rule here” and had dubbed black Republican poll watcher Larry Counts as a “race traitor.” Others reported hearing the term “white devils.” A TV news report filmed at the scene shows an unidentified Caucasian man who claims the pair harassed him: “[After I went inside the polling station] they told us not to come outside, because a black man is going to win this election no matter what. So as I came back outside to see, the nightstick turns around and he says, “€˜You know, we’re tired of white supremacy”€™ and starts tappin’ the nightstick in his hand, at which point I said, “€˜OK, we’re not going to get into a fistfight here,”€™ and I called the police. The police came, and they removed the guy with the nightstick.”

Bartle Bull, a former Village Voice publisher and a civil-rights lawyer with a long history of lobbying for voters”€™ rights, was also at the scene that day in Philadelphia. According to Bull’s sworn affidavit filed in US District Court in April of 2009, “I watched the two uniformed men confront voters, and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters….I heard the shorter man make a statement directed toward white poll observers that “€˜you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.”€™…It would qualify as the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my life in political campaigns in many states, even going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960’s.”

If one were wearing blinders, Shabazz and Jackson’s alleged actions would seem a clear violation of 1965’s Voting Rights Act, which makes it a crime to “intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote.” Justice Department lawyers under Bush originally filed suit against Shabazz, Jackson, and two other New Black Panthers in January 2009. When no New Black Panthers bothered to attend court hearings to respond to the charges, a summary judgment was filed against them.

Then, before a final judgment was delivered against the defendants, the Justice Department suddenly filed a motion to dismiss the case. Three of the defendants walked away unscathed, while Shabazz’s punishment amounted to a simple directive that he not carry any weapons into polling places until 2012″€”coincidentally, the next time Obama’s name will be on the ballot, at which point it will presumably be safe for Mr. Shabazz to tote weapons into polling stations.

In May of this year, J. Christian Adams, a pudgy and towheaded DOJ Voting Rights Section trial attorney, resigned from his post only two weeks after receiving a promotion. Adams claimed that his superiors had ordered the Black Panther case’s dismissal. Adams also stated that when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights began investigating the dismissal and subpoenaed him and other lawyers in his department, they were all ordered to ignore the subpoenas and be quiet about the case. Adams apparently resigned so that he could speak freely on the matter.

“The real crime here was committed by an administration that promised to usher in a post-racial era but instead has merely switched the Good Guy and Bad Guy cardboard cutout figures to foster a racial climate thicker with tension and resentment than at any time I can remember in my life.”

Adams says that one of the lawyers ordering the dismissal was Loretta King, a black Obama appointee. He claims that when King visited his department with Attorney General Eric “Nation of Cowards” Holder in 2009, she burped out the following verbal geyser in front of a large group: “I can’t tell you how excited I am every day when I come to work and I see pictures of two black men who are running the country.”

In a recent op-ed piece for the Washington Times, Adams wrote: “Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment….Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims….Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases….Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it “€˜payback time.”€™ Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.”

During an appearance before the US Commission on Civil Rights this past Tuesday, Adams claimed that the Obama administration has, “over and over and over again,” displayed open “hostility” toward prosecuting members of what Eric Holder has designated as “protected groups” for crimes against members of what are perceived as historical oppressor groups. Adams claims that his higher-ups stressed the importance of focusing exclusively on more “traditional” victims.

Naturally, the left side of the Web has sought to besmirch Adams by dubbing him a “longtime conservative activist” and a “conservative blogger.” Media Matters, which is obsessing over the case to a degree that suggests anxiety on their part, is freely tossing out terms such as “hype” and “unsubstantiated.” The Justice Department has accused Adams of making “willful misstatements” and of distorting facts to make “baseless allegations.” Naturally, they didn”€™t elaborate regarding what misstatements were made, which facts were distorted, and why his allegations were baseless.

As always, most of the left/right rhetorical to-and-fro involves one blind partisan side accusing the other blind partisan side of blind partisanship. One side’s clear agenda is to accuse the other side of having a clear agenda. One side gets blamed for using political tactics and political strategies to accuse the other side of politicizing matters.

The New Black Panther website addresses the case on their home page, characterizing Shabazz’s baton-wielding as “an honest error” and a “mishap.” Despite the firsthand accounts chronicled above, they claim “There is no evidence, not one statement from any person at the polling station that day to prove that any voter, regardless to race creed or color was intimidated from voting or offended in any way.” They blame the ongoing controversy on “Republican, right wing, confederate, Tea Party racists” who comprise “nothing more than a modern day racist lynch mob seeking to hang what you think are your modern slaves.” However, I have encountered no recorded evidence of them disputing that they used racial slurs on the day in question, and they have not replied to my emailed request for an interview.

I gorge on others”€™ hypocrisy and logical contradictions like a glutton, so it’s amusing to hear a group whose Philly leader has openly called for the slaughter of cracker babies to complain, without a sliver of irony, about “racists.” I”€™m not all that bothered by what’s known as “racism” no matter who’s expressing it, but double standards annoy the living shit out of me.

The left side of our national chow hall has for decades insisted that nonwhites cannot possibly be racist, since they don”€™t hold the power to oppress others. Focusing on historical crimes while turning a blind eye to current ones, they argue that nonwhites are protected by an invisible force field of generational oppression that protects them from all accusations of racist behavior. But when you work under a black president, a black Attorney General, and a black boss who orders you to dismiss a legal case you”€™ve carefully prepared, it grows more difficult to argue that blackness equals powerlessness.

The idea that historic crimes justify contemporary crimes is based on the logical fallacy known as “two wrongs make a right.” The chief danger with perpetuating this supposedly corrective double standard is that, unlike our troops in Afghanistan, there is no proposed withdrawal date for this policy. If what J. Christian Adams is saying is true, the double standard may actually be gaining strength.

As someone who has dabbled in crime and spent a lot of time with criminals, let me tell you what the real crime is here. It doesn”€™t involve a pair of sub-literate jerkoff schmucks with a nightstick and a lunchbox full of anti-white racial slurs. Americans are too easily intimidated these days as it is, and if that duo of bozos had tried to harass me, I”€™d have countered their aggression with a cheery fistful of obscure racial slurs that may well have disarmed them and earned their grudging respect.

No, the real crime here was committed by an administration that promised to usher in a post-racial era but instead has merely switched the Good Guy and Bad Guy cardboard cutout figures to foster a racial climate thicker with tension and resentment than at any time I can remember in my life.

There’s a pervasive idea, however unproved and implausible, that “we” can somehow ever manage to get “past” race. I doubt that this is true, but I”€™m also aware of the monstrous difference between the notion of innate, blank-slate human equality—which is a long shot—and the idea of treating humans equally. Although life is unfair and “justice” is ultimately unattainable, I believe it would help matters if the Powers That Be at least PRETENDED to apply their standards equally.

As things stand, justice obviously isn”€™t blind, so maybe it’s time we poked her eyes out.


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