WHAT IS A BLACK IDENTITY EXTREMIST?
While white men are beating black men on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, while a lone white wolf is shooting people from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, while the word “terrorist” is hardly used to describe these men, the FBI, under the leadership of the racist Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions, is thinking up a new way to oppress Black people. Despite the fact that there is no evidence of a “movement”, the FBI has described a group of black people as “black identity extremists” who pose a domestic terrorist threat to police officers. (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4067711/BIE-Redacted.pdf)
Hold up! We have seen domestic terror threats, though there are those of limited intelligence who cannot fathom them. The man who shot up an Orlando, Florida nightclub was a domestic terrorist. Dylan Roof, who worshipped with the parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME church was a domestic terrorist so highly regarded by law enforcement that they bought him a meal before taking him to jail. The man I will not mention in Las Vegas was a domestic terrorist. But the FBI is manufacturing evidence to focus on us African Americans who embrace our Black identity.
Foreign Policy, the magazine and website that broke the story of this new classification of “woke” black people, leaked the FBI document that links black identity with extremism and threats to police officers. The document mentions Black Lives Matter, although the connection between Black Lives Matter and anti-police violence has not been established. For the FBI to identify “Black Identity Extremists” as domestic terrorists is to declare war on black people. After all, what does it mean to be a “Black Identity Extremist”? Does it mean we love our Blackness and refuse to back down when we are attacked? Does it mean that we revel in our identity and use every available platform (thank you, Colin Kaepernick) to lift our voices up against injustice? Why is this embrace of Blackness so frightening to melanin-deficient people? They prefer us silent, docile, grateful, acquiescent. They demand no such acquiescence from their melanin-impaired friends who gleefully walk through civilized streets of places like Charlottesville and parry racist chants like “you will not replace us, Jews will not replace us”. That’s domestic terrorism, Beauregard! Call it like it is instead of inventing a Black movement that does not exist.
Andrew Cohen (https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/fbi-new-fantasy-black-identity-extremists) wrote about the FBI report for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and reports that “there is no “BIE movement,” but in the fertile mind of those within the Trump administration that want you to believe there is some sinister black force out there bent on attacking police officers. No journalists or academics have discovered and chronicled such a movement or its leaders. No such leaders have come forward to say they are part of such a movement. No one has killed a cop in the name of such a movement. The only citations to the movement, the Foreign Policy piece tells us, come from “internal law enforcement writings made over the past two months.”
Journalist Sam Fulwood III, writing for the Center for American Progress blog, Think Progress, (https://thinkprogress.org/fbi-targets-black-activists-83628a5eb611/) describes the FBI report as an “ominous siren call coinciding with President Donald Trump’s penchant for stoking racial divisions in the country.” He says that “the administration views criminalizing communities of color as a way to shield police from scrutiny and score points with a base of white voters.” We’ve walked down this path before. We can start with Marcus Garvey who dared dream Black independence and paid a horrible price for it. Fast forward to the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, and so many others identified as “enemies of the state”. J. Edgar Hoover submitted a five-line request to get Dr. Martin Luther King’s phone lines tapped because he was an alleged Communist. Or, dare I say that because Dr. King preached about economic justice FOR ALL and also the rights of Black people, he was perceived as a “Black Identity extremist”.
The FBI report says the Black Identity Extremist movement began after a Ferguson; Missouri police officer unnecessarily killed Michael Brown. Andrew Cohen notes that the FBI report lists six cases where so-called BIE perpetrators killed police officers. These cases are so isolated that if these men were white they would have been classified, as Dylan Roof was, as mentally ill or troubled. They would have gone to McDonalds with those who arrested them! Instead the FBI has figure out another way to demonize Black people.
Meanwhile, 173 Black people were killed by police officers so far this year. Six instances of BIE folks allegedly (do we know they are BIE, or just crazy) killing police officers is a pattern, but 173 Black folks being shot by police officers is what? Business as usual?
This so-called BIE nonsense is diabolically racist and pathologically creative. It suggests that any Black person who has issues with so-called law enforcement is suspect. I stand with my people who choose to protest ignorance, ugliness and nonsense. Those who embrace their Black identity are not terrorists, we are healthily self-confident. We are at risk, as we have always been, when injustice prevails.
Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via www.amazon.com for booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visit www.juliannemalveaux.com