Personal Narrative: The Black Panther Party

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From the beginning of Africana Studies, my mind and eyes were exposed to different ideas and viewpoints. Connections were made that I had never considered before and the harsh realities of life were placed directly in front of me. All the while breaking down perceptions of my own I entered the course with. I had always thought of camouflage as something worn by either the military or those that hunted. It was a pattern used to serve a purpose with a utilitarian aspect. It was rarely used as a fashion statement. However, when it was revealed to me how those in the slums of the inner city used to wear camouflage, as a symbol of the urban warfare they fought in became a status symbol and something to reproduce and sell, it showed a…show more content…
What started as a group of people working together to police the police and making sure blacks were not being abused by officers of the law later, turned into a political party that provided services for the needy, and was placed on the FBIs watchlist. The Black Panther Party origins were in Oakland CA, where they followed police officers on patrol to ensure they didn’t abuse or harass black citizens. From there they grew and spread across the nation working for equality and civil rights. Eventually, with enough influence and funding they could start providing programs to impoverished citizens of the communities they came from. Breakfast for children was provided so that they could do better in school, jobs were offered to employ members of the neighborhood, and it wasn’t only for blacks, if you were white or Hispanic, you too could receive benefits of having the Black Panther Party near-by. However, not everyone was pleased with the BPP. The Counter Intelligence Program (COINTEL PRO) was a FBI program that focused their efforts on breaking down the BPP and preventing them from rising. Eventually, through enough unjustified raids and illegal privacy breaches, COINTEL managed to create a rift that would increase in size and drive the BPP apart internally. It is this that drives me mad, because here is the BPP, an…show more content…
A common comparison made was between the holocaust and slavery. How can blacks claim they are different and demand Anti-Discrimination Acts and Affirmative Action when Jews were hunted across the European countryside and killed in gas chambers? This was when I was introduced to the concept of Kind vs. Scale. It teases apart different types of oppression upon a group of people. In the case of comparing the holocaust to slavery, while they both had similar scales of people oppressed and affected. Slavery was of a different kind of oppression than what the Jews suffered. Slaves and Jews were both removed from their homes and sent off to work. However, Jews retained their status as a human being. Slaves did not. They were seen as cargo and items to be used for laboring in the plantation fields and fulfilling sexual desires. Slaves were the first insurance policies because captains wanted compensation for when their cargo would die on the middle passage. Slaves were dehumanized to allow for the atrocities committed against them to happen. This has not happened to any other collection of people to the extent it has happened to
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