The paradox of 'black power'

Yesterday Rick Moran blogged about an article in Salon by Benji Hart.  While the article did not specifically endorse the Baltimore riots (or not-endorse them), it defended rioting as a means to an end.  According to Hart, riots are a legitimate tactic when nonviolence fails.

Quoting from his article, “Militance is about direct action which defends our communities from violence. It is about responses which meet the political goals of our communities in the moment, and deal with the repercussions as they come.”

When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you -- in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face -- then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck[.]

In other words: the Baltimore Police Department is a racist institution with its boot on the neck of the black community, and the only recourse the black community has is violence.  Nowhere does Benji Hart acknowlege that the Baltimore Police Department is under the direct control of the chosen representatives of the majority black electorate.

Not only do blacks outnumber whites by more than 2-1 in Baltimore, but since 1987, four out of five mayors of Baltimore have been black, including the present one.  Baltimore as a city has been effectively under the control of the black community, and the black political leadership, for close to thirty years.  In other words, the rioters are members of the dominant racial group within Baltimore, not a minority oppressed by a tyrannical majority.

Benji Hart concluded his article by stating, “Black power, queer power, power to Baltimore, and to all oppressed people who know what time it is.”

Contrary to Hart's declaration, “black power” is a reality in Baltimore (and has been for some time), as it is in scores of majority black cities across America.  What a 1960s-style black separatist would have desired, self-determination for blacks as a distinct community, has in effect come to pass.  Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, and many other cities are effectively black enclaves in which blacks exercise self-rule.

The great irony of the post-civil-rights-era era is that despite the demands for “black power,” the real dilemma for black communities across America is what to do with the power they have.

Yesterday Rick Moran blogged about an article in Salon by Benji Hart.  While the article did not specifically endorse the Baltimore riots (or not-endorse them), it defended rioting as a means to an end.  According to Hart, riots are a legitimate tactic when nonviolence fails.

Quoting from his article, “Militance is about direct action which defends our communities from violence. It is about responses which meet the political goals of our communities in the moment, and deal with the repercussions as they come.”

When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you -- in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face -- then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck[.]

In other words: the Baltimore Police Department is a racist institution with its boot on the neck of the black community, and the only recourse the black community has is violence.  Nowhere does Benji Hart acknowlege that the Baltimore Police Department is under the direct control of the chosen representatives of the majority black electorate.

Not only do blacks outnumber whites by more than 2-1 in Baltimore, but since 1987, four out of five mayors of Baltimore have been black, including the present one.  Baltimore as a city has been effectively under the control of the black community, and the black political leadership, for close to thirty years.  In other words, the rioters are members of the dominant racial group within Baltimore, not a minority oppressed by a tyrannical majority.

Benji Hart concluded his article by stating, “Black power, queer power, power to Baltimore, and to all oppressed people who know what time it is.”

Contrary to Hart's declaration, “black power” is a reality in Baltimore (and has been for some time), as it is in scores of majority black cities across America.  What a 1960s-style black separatist would have desired, self-determination for blacks as a distinct community, has in effect come to pass.  Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, and many other cities are effectively black enclaves in which blacks exercise self-rule.

The great irony of the post-civil-rights-era era is that despite the demands for “black power,” the real dilemma for black communities across America is what to do with the power they have.