FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stand Whose Ground?

“Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”

— “If We Must Die” -Claude Mckay

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its Spring 2012 Intelligence Report titled “The Year in Hate and Extremism,” which described the dramatic increase in the number of radical right- wing organizations.

A few of the groups are described as neo-nazis, neo-confederates, white nationalists, and racist skinheads. According to the report, the number of militia and patriot groups jumped from 158 in 2001 to 1274 in 2011. A similar rise of right-wing groups has occurred in Europe as well.

The publication provides three reasons for the rise of so-called ‘hate groups’: the first Black President, a growing non-white population, and, I think most importantly, the so-called Great Recession.

For obvious reasons, Black people should be especially alarmed by the rise of the radical right. We are subjected to a distinct type of oppression in America. Historically, Black people are defined by America as the opposite of all that is moral, just, beautiful, industrious and divine.

In short, we are the most likely scapegoats in periods of instability, like, I don’t know– an economic recession. Of course, other groups such as Jews, Arabs, women, homosexuals, etc. are targets as well, but Blacks are the eternal “other.”

The murder of Trayvon Martin should be placed in this context.

However, I don’t think these incidences of white radicalism should be viewed as strictly the province of the so-called lower classes. A large part of this potential raging fire is being fanned by right-wing elites such as the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers fund politicians like Newt Gingrich who stated, “I will tell black people to demand paychecks instead of food stamps,” and Rick Santorum who enlightened us with “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

The Koch brothers, are also behind the voter ID legislation and owners of Georgia-Pacific–you know, all those new paper towel and soap dispensers in bathrooms across the university campus.

White radicalism could not be so widespread and protracted without white elite complicity. In 1919, after the Washington Post ran a story stating a white woman had been raped by a Black man, whites engaged in a rampage through The District for multiple days, murdering Black people throughout the city.

Once it became obvious that the government was not going to intervene, Black folk began to form self-defense units against white neighborhood watchmen, I mean–vigilantes. They even placed snipers on the roof of Howard Theater to defend themselves.

In the 1950s, Robert Williams, head of the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP started a gun club to protect civil rights workers. Self-defense was a necessity for survival in Black communities, not a “get-out-of-jail-free,” or rather, a “never-be-arrested-for-murder” card.

Although, for the most part, their methods have changed, this rise in right-wing radical groups reminds us that there was a time when a certain group of people, many of whom now criticize our hoodies once wore different hoods of their own.

In many ways, the self defense aspect of Stand Your Ground law is not foreign to the history of Black people. The answer to our question of what else can we do outside of marches, rallies, and petitions, is there, only if, we listen to the ancestors…..

Benjamin Woods is a PhD candidate at Howard University.

This article originally appeared in the Howard newspaper, The Hilltop.

More articles by:

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposal Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail