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How the Black Panthers Challenged White Supremacy
Der Aufstieg der SVP und die diskursive Transformation der politischen Schweiz
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Franziska Meister Racism and Resistance Political Science | Volume 43 Franziska Meister (PhD) is a science and culture editor at Swiss weekly »WOZ – Die Wochenzeitung«. Franziska Meister Racism and Resistance How the Black Panthers Challenged White Supremacy Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Natio- nalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http

. 188-194. Albert, J.C. / S.E. Albert (1984): The Sixties Papers. Documents of a Rebellious Decade, New York: Praeger. Alexander, M. (2012): The New Jim Crow. Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, revised ed., New York: The New Press. Alexander, P. (1987): Racism, Resistance, and Revolution, London: Bookmarks. Alkebulan, P. (2007): Survival Pending Revolution: The History of the Black Panther Party, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Allen, E., Jr. (1997): “On the Reading of Riddles: Rethinking Du Boisian ‘Doub- le Consciousness’.” In: L.R. Gordon

(Newton 1995b: 7-8) is what lay at the heart of the Black Panthers’ struggle for Black Visibility: to expose the Racism and Resistance48 US government and society as a white supremacy system, whose institutions function to systematically oppress and exploit black people; to subvert the performance and self-conception of the government in this course; and to provoke it towards escalating its retaliation against blacks and thereby delegitimizing itself. This is what the Panthers strategically set out to achieve from the very onset of the Party. Patrolling the

(although it continued to be active on a local basis in Oakland until 1982). Racism and Resistance14 Thus Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin conclude their comprehensive historical account Black Against Empire (2013), which is widely appraised as the ultimate study on the Black Panther Party. “Most blacks in the United States today, especially the black middle class, believe their grievances can be redressed through traditional political and economic channels. Most view insurgency as no longer necessary and do not feel threatened by state repression of insurgent

attempts Racism and Resistance162 “to expose the exertions of racist violence on black bodies” and in the way they “both were attuned to the geopolitics of pride and shame, governing the visual transmission, reception, and interpretation of their spectacular performances.” What the Panthers repudiated, however, was the fact that the civil rights movement had based its moral standards and conceptions of justice on the hegemonial white perspective. Civil rights leaders and activists had always recognized and welcomed the existing US system and society and focused

longer only because race has been marginalized from Racism and Resistance8 contemporary discourse with the rise of the ideology of colorblindness, but because it could emerge once more in the factual guise of white supremacy. In view of a newly ascending Ku Klux Klan and overt racism manifesting itself in public again, discussing race from a black perspective becomes ever more urgent. This is what this book sets out to do. In fact, the era of Black Power still has to be captured in its historic significance, as the black historian Peniel E. Joseph points out

, which was a result of an earlier conviction. The restrictions targeted his public appearances and speeches on behalf of the Black Panther Party: he Racism and Resistance92 was to keep his name out of the news – specifically, he was forbidden to appear on TV –, and he was not allowed to publicly criticize the government and the legal system. (Cleaver 1969: 7; Holder 1990: 211-212) When Cleaver decided to ignore his political silencing and embarked upon the Free Huey campaign, local police forces intensified their persecution of the BPP. And they increasingly did

over to the West Coast to interview Newton.1 Seale (1991: 177) happily commented: “News of the existence of the Party went all around the world.” Catching the attention of the mass media was the sine qua non of their Black Visibility quest, as the Panthers were well aware. Canny to the mass media’s functioning and particularly their interest in confrontational situations, the Panthers had deliberately catered to the mass media with their street performances practically from the outset. Soon enough, however, they Racism and Resistance124 discovered that the