D Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: FBI’s ‘Extremists’ List Should Include White Supremacists Before Black Activists

I study and devour chronicles of history with voracious fervor because of both the tendency and inevitability of humanity to repeat their actions and decisions — whether they’re positive or negative in scope. And I have learned that because things occur and then reoccur with unabashed frequency, the outcomes we witness should be expected.

That’s why the recently leaked FBI “Intelligence Assessment” — a report prepared by the agency’s Counterterrorism Division — that identifies “Black Identity Extremists” as security threats should be seen for what this study really is: a way to legitimize “open season” against Blacks who protest injustice and prejudice perpetrated by white police officers and other white vigilante groups.

This report serves speaks volumes, indicating that the FBI, among other white-dominated groups in the U.S., plans to use its vast amount of resources to go after Blacks who object by any means, albeit legal and within the confines of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of all American citizens, to racially motivated attacks against people of color and who have the audacity to raise their voices in solidarity.

Meanwhile, despite the report providing no evidence to support its assessment that “Black Identify Extremists” pose a threat to law enforcement because of their alleged violent ideologies, the FBI posits that it can also identify security threats simply by examining people’s beliefs and speech.

History has repeated itself once more. So, just as we saw during the turbulent 1960s when the Black Panthers dared to oppose violence against the Black community initiated by law enforcement, we now face a situation in which peaceful groups like Black Lives Matter will most assuredly be classified as “criminals” — with their members and supporters being presumed guilty simply by association.

The writing on the way is troubling and downright deadly because it opens the door for racial profiling particularly when Blacks protest police practices that are based on false stereotypes about the Black community’s tendency and propensity to commit certain crimes, including but not limited to protests sparked by the constant and frequent injury or death of Blacks at the hands of those who have been hired to “protect and serve.”

One has to wonder why our Black civil rights groups including the NAACP, the SCLC, the Urban League and even the Black Church have said little or nothing to object to this newest example of justified racism. As a young boy, I was vaguely aware of the Black Panthers who looked so cool to me, decked out in leather jackets, dark sunglasses and sporting huge afros. I could not understand why the American government and law enforcement officials seemed so determined to attack them, hunt them down, shoot, kill, arrest and advocate for their imprisonment. Was it wrong for them to identify themselves as a pro-Black organization who refused to turn the other cheek when faced with violence?

As is the nature of history, we are seeing the past come to life with the resurgence of Nazi-like, Ku Klux Klan-spirited, white supremacist groups who now feel emboldened and empowered to remove their “hoods” in their quest to put Blacks back in their place.

Dr. King may have led us in the singing of “We Shall Overcome” and perhaps we even began to believe that we had indeed overcome. But what’s painfully evident is the fact that the FBI has no plans to protect the rights, including free speech, of Black activists in America. Instead, they have embarked on a path undergirded by a malevolent policy of “seek and destroy” with “loud-mouthed Blacks” as their intended targets.

The demise of the Black Panthers came in part after the government embraced and followed the controversial, covert COINTELPRO program that emasculated and silenced Black men, and many Black women, who were unwilling to accept the long-held status of Black subservience and second-class citizenship.

I wonder how long the Black community will silently stand by and allow history to be repeated? I wonder if we even have a choice? What I do know is that racism is alive and well in America and, as in the past, it’s being ushered in by those elected and appointed to protect all Americans. America talks a good talk but we’re a country that’s light years from walking the walk — that is, the walk of truth, justice and the “so-called” American way.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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