Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance has been met with a bit of backlash, of which seems to be divided directly down racial lines. For the last couple days, I’ve been reading hundreds of comments from both sides of the aisle and there appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. The issue being: White people don’t understand why black people are celebrating a hate group like the Black Panthers?
The short answer: White people have a lack of empathy.
To my white peeps, please consider today’s environment: everyone in today’s climate, regardless of race, is born, has access to schools, and with some luck can attend a university of one’s choice. They can then parlay this access into positive change for their given community by running for political office. Not hard to imagine, because that is today’s reality…for everyone.
However, now I’d like you to place yourself into the shoes of a black person in 1965; where my initial statement of “everyone today, regardless of race” did not apply. Brown v. Board of Education just passed a decade earlier and equal opportunities were most certainly not being realized by all. For a reference point closer to home, as seen in the recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc Supreme Court case, we’re still fighting over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that was passed more than 20 years ago; therefore it shouldn’t be hard to believe that an equal rights legislation passed in the 1950’s was still not well received in the 60’s.
Why is this relevant?
The struggle in the 1960’s facilitated the creation of the Black Panther Party and black people in America generally celebrate this because they acted as liberators to a very real oppression. Their party organized and ran for office, they created community outreach programs, and essentially focused their attention on propping up a community that was factually being held down.
However, the white population’s focus seems to be on the armed militant aspect of the Black Panthers, and furthermore, the focus is on the Black Panther Party of today. Two things on that:
First, I do find it odd that we would pass judgment on a group that pushed back against an oppressive Government, when currently white people are buying up guns at a fever pitch for that very reason. Heck, every time Obama speaks, gun sales sky-rocket; and you know this, man! So, if you were to place yourself in the shoes of a black person in 1965, you’d be doing the same thing; FACT! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?
Second, I kind of doubt the black population of today, take the new-age, Black Panther Party serious. Groups that form within civilized societies are unfortunate that way; whereas they form out of a necessity for cultural preservation, but once preservation becomes a boulder rolling downhill, the group becomes a fringe extension of the community’s overall wellbeing. The Black Panthers of today are just such a group. If you disagree, then you’re most likely a bit militant toward the whole “black power” enslave white people narrative, which is simply bad form. Good luck with that! Please see the Fourteenth Amendment; it applies to white people as well. Just sayin.
So, in conclusion for my white peeps, stop with the willful misunderstanding toward the affection black people show toward the Black Panther Party. It’s the same affection you show toward the “Founding Fathers” when they fought to free you from the oppressive ties of the British Empire. Even a small empathetic exercise would conclude: there are more similarities than differences between these groups. This is true on most issues, I might add.
PS: white people are not alone in the lack of empathy department, but that’s a much more complicated discussion for another day.
CAVEAT: Generalization overload should be pretty self-explanatory, but if not, it means I’m making generalizations that I normally wouldn’t too quickly get the point across. Just one aspect of the socioeconomic side of this discussion creates 10,000 word documents without much effort. Thanks for your cooperation!
SIDE NOTE: #BOYCOTTBEYONCE is foolish. If you don’t like her message, and for that matter, her music, then don’t buy it; #AMERICA. But, getting the groupthink machine fired up over this seems unnecessary. How about kicking up a hashtag campaign like #STOPBOKOHARAMFROMBURNINGCHILDRENALIVEBYTHETHOUSANDS…it’s kind of long, but a much more worthy goal.
Miami Based, Internationally Known