CBC CALLS A MEETING WITH THE FBI: WHAT LED TO THIS POINT?
POSTED NOV. 15TH, 2017 | BY RAMIRO ALEXANDER-DUCHESNE
It has been a perennial, indisputable fact that the Black community has been targeted by law enforcement; our communities are more heavily patrolled, Black leaders are more vastly scrutinized, and Black activist groups are more blisteringly surveillanced. This intense damnation of the Black community only accentuates the volatile relationship between the Black community and law enforcement.
You may or may not be familiar with the term ‘Black Identity Extremist’ (BIE) but this is nothing new. In October of this year, NewsOne reported that an official document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was leaked. The document -- which was leaked from the FBI’s counter-terrorism department -- listed Black Identity Extremists as terrorists.
Like Black leaders before him, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is under surveillance. Now that the FBI has leaked their list of BIE categorizing Black activists as terrorists, Mckesson’s claims cannot simply be disregarded as paranoia.
Brief History of the FBI
Although the U.S. government and some of the most patriotic conservatives will bolster the work of the FBI, there is nothing awe-inspiring about the history of the FBI The FBI’s history, however, is enlightening. And in order to know our history to the fullest extent, we have to know the history of our oppressors.
Leading The GID
While working for the Justice Department, J. Edgar Hoover -- one of the Black community’s greatest adversaries -- worked under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Palmer appointed Hoover to lead the General Intelligence Division (GID) where his objective was to gather debilitating information about radical groups.
Hoover’s time leading the GID resulted in innumerous illegal raids and arrests of members who belonged to radical groups. Hoover’s supervision of the GID also resulted in Palmer stepping down due to intense backlash, and landed Hoover the position of Director of the FBI
Directing The FBI
Hoover’s frustration with the Justice Department in regards to their inability to thoroughly investigate certain matters continuously grew. As a result, Hoover created the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO). Under the umbrella of COINTELPRO, Hoover prevented multiple initiatives by Black activists to continue their work.
With the aid of Black informants, Hoover and COINTELPRO was able to disband Marcus Garvey’s efforts with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.), Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale’s the efforts with the Black Panther Party.
The idea of the FBI executing a luculent objective masked under the claim of absurdity is no new phenomenon. The fact that the FBI would include BIE on a terrorist list, may be disheartening but it is not the least bit surprising.
But what is a BIE? How does one define a BIE? Let’s break it down; ‘Black’ pertains to the people of African descent. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘Identity’ is “the sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing,” and ‘Extremist’ is defined as “the advocacy of extreme measures” and is synonymous with radicalism.
Upon first encounter with the term BIE, it may seem to define a Black extremists (who the U.S. government would have you believe is someone like Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Carmichael, etc.). But if you dig deeper, you’ll see that the delineation of a B.I.E is ambiguous and misleading.
What Is An Identity?
One’s identity is of the utmost importance. Your identity is how you connect with the world around you; it allows people to determine what your likes and dislikes are and how to approach you. For the Black community, identity is a double-edged sword.
As we were bound in coffles and herded miles across our own land, placed in barracoons on our beaches until slavers came ashore to compactly transport us along the middle passage where whip-rearing racists sadistically broke us like equids, they took our culture and language, and corollarily, our identity. So, in finding -- or redefining -- our identity, we are deemed radicals or extremists.
Actions of the CBC
The simple truth is that no one defines themselves as an extremist. Despite the facts, even the Ku Klux Klan doesn’t believe that they are extremists. If you were to refer to a person as a ‘Klan Identity Extremist’, then that would imply that one who identifies with the KKK is an extremist. Therefore, you would carefully refrain from referring to someone as a ‘White Identity Extremist’, as that would imply that anyone who identifies as white is an extremist.
The FBI’s negligent wording of a ‘Black Identity Extremist’ suggests that anyone who identifies as Black should be considered and treated like an extremist. As a result of the FBI’s leaked document, The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is demanding a meeting with the FBI Hopefully the CBC will be able to gain clarification on what the FBI intended to say but in the meantime, we know what’s up.
FBI’s Response To Leak
The FBI responded to the uproar by stating, “Our focus in not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and other criminal acts.” The FBI justifies their placement of BIE on their terrorists list by claiming an effort to prevent retaliation on law enforcement due to increased police brutality.
The FBI seems to believe that Black people will retaliate violently to police brutality. Placing BIE on the terrorist list ensures that the “necessary” precautions will be set into place. The FBI is right about one thing: we will respond to their violence. But the majority of us will refrain from falling into their trap and instead respond intelligently (i.e. good journalism).
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