[ View the story "State of Black Nationalism" on Storify] State of Black Nationalism
AJAMStream· Thu, Nov 07 2013 17:49:27
Red for the blood, black for the people and green for the land of Africa. That is what the stripes of the Black Nationalist Flag represent. Black nationalism is the belief in and advocacy of economic self-sufficiency, racial pride, and African-centered social and political empowerment.
The movement's origins can be traced back to abolitionists who advocated for black repatriation to Africa and the development of separate, all-black societies dedicated to social, political and economic independence from the mainstream.
The black nationalist movement reached the height of global prominence in the 1960s due largely to the Nation of Islam and its rising star, national spokesman Malcolm X. He initially popularized the Nation's philosophy of a "by any means necessary" approach to combating oppression and inequality, but overtime advocated for inclusive dialogue and racial harmony. He is credited with an increase of black consciousness and pride in the United States and around the world.
Following the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 and an FBI operation that sought to infiltrate and disrupt black nationalist organizations like the Black Panthers, the movement saw a decline until the 1980's.
Black revolutionary activism extended its roots to hip-hop, reaching its peak when director Spike Lee chronicled the life of Malcolm X in the 1992 release of the same name. Images of Malcolm X and other "black power" symbolism became popular in urban fashion, music and entertainment.
The Stream asked its online community if the black nationalist movement is as effective today as it was in the past. And if Malcolm X were alive today, what would be his thoughts on current societal issues?
Black consciousness is slowly dying with my generation. The young kids today are detached from the era of great black leaders. On the other hand, that's what we as a people strived for, equality! Don't get me wrong, I know there's still racism and inequalities, but it's nice to see my 3 sons dating other races and not have to worry about race. Look, our president is Black! That's saying something! But I do miss having black leaders such as Brother Malcolm still fighting for our people. My point is, we've come a long way, but we have not reached that mountain too yet.Brian Philpott
@AJAMStream Malcolm would say that we do far too much "complaining" but do nothing about it. We complain about crime but do nothingAmin Nathari
21 years ago this month (November), I went to the movies to see the movie Malcolm X....and he would still say that " We've been had and hoodwinked"Jeffrey Mckinney Muezzin
Others felt that the younger generation would make Malcolm X proud, but the problems plaguing the black community today are different, requiring different solutions.
@AJAMStream just about racist assumptions about "gangster rappers." There's a generational split on what the racial fear even is.Dyna Moxie
Critics of black nationalism and its progression point to the lack of representation of young people and women. In August, users took to Twitter to voice their frustrations with the movement ignoring issues unique to them and silencing their voice. The hashtag
sought to create a dialogue on how to make the current movement more inclusive.
#BlackPowerisForBlackMen bc when BM say "I'm oppressed" it means "I'm oppressed" …When BW say the same, it means "I am single & bitter."¯\(ツ)/¯
Again #blackpowerisforblackmen bc we don't joke about lynching but the sexual terrorism black women faced historically is used for laughsKimberly N. Foster
#BlackPowerIsForBlackMen When we can name Emmett Till but can’t name Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia WesleyRobin D. G. Kelley
#blackpowerisforblackmen when speaking out about your experience as a black woman is somehow attacking black men.Demetria Lucas