Black History Month: The Black Panther Party — Vanguard of a Revolution

I never learned about the Black Panther Party in school, but whenever it was I did first hear about them, I remember thinking only, “They sound dangerous.” As I was a white girl from the suburbs, I suppose that’s not so surprising. After watching Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panther Party: Vanguard of a Revolution, I might even say I was half right. The Panthers were dangerous — dangerous to the system that made black urban life so hard, dangerous to the racist law enforcement officials who brutally kept the system in place, dangerous to the idea that the way things were was the way things had to be.

“We don’t hate nobody because of their color. We hate oppression. We hate murder of black people in our communities.”Bobby Seale, in an early speech

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The Good, The Bad, and The Silly

The Good

Good for Sheriff Dart here in Chicago — he’s suspended enforcing foreclosures (as he did two years ago) until banks can prove they actually have everything in order. Some banks admitted they approved foreclosures without even reading the documents in question. How can you sleep at night knowing you’re making people homeless — and you didn’t even take the time to check if you had the legal right to do so? (Never mind the moral right.)

The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest rates of rape and sexual violence in the world, and this past week, thousands of women there marched against sexual terrorism. Kudos to them for taking a bold stand in a terrifying environment.

I am 100% for finding a cure for breast cancer, just like everyone else. But this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s all be a little more aware of just how dangerously corporate and anti-research the whole pink products campaign is. All that stuff you buy that’s colored pink “for breast cancer”? Half of it may be part of the environmental causes of breast cancer that aren’t getting researched, lest corporate research funders get upset. The fantastic Barbara Ehrenreich was all over this back in 2001 (it’s a really good read).

The Bad

Since when do bodyguards get to handcuff people, let alone reporters entering a public event on public property? The Anchorage DA had sure as hell better prosecute. This is your Tea Party, America.

“We’re becoming a plutocracy” — and no one in America believes it. (Via Shakesville, but I can’t find the exact link, sorry)

The FBI spied on an Arab American student for months (by GPS tracking his car without a warrant, which is now somehow legal), but they didn’t find anything. Too bad he did! He found the GPS tracker and now the FBI wants it back because it’s so pricey.

The Silly

The best blind job application ever, from Mr. Hunter S. Thompson. This is how I’m applying to all jobs from now on.

A girl wrote Johnny Depp and asked him to teach her and her fellow students how to be pirates so they could mutiny against their teachers, and he showed up to do just that.