Is Black Lives Matter Taking Us Forward or Backwards?


The overall effectiveness and aim of the Black Lives Matter movement has been something up for debate since its official inception after the high-profile murder case involving Trayvon Martin in 2012 by supporters, skeptics, and detractors alike.

An article that had been published last Wednesday by a UK media outlet [1] has reopened the doors for that debate and even more criticism directed towards Black Lives Matter.

The looming question of “What is Black Lives Matter really doing?” has been loudly echoed by quite the unexpected source, former Black Panther Party Chairwoman Elaine Brown and hasn’t been sitting too well with many people.

In the opening of the article, Brown reportedly says the following:

“I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does, so I can’t tell you how it compares to what the Black Panther Party was. I know what the BPP was. I know the lives we lost, the struggle we put into place, the efforts we made, the assaults on us by the police and government – I know all that. I don’t know what Black Lives Matter does. So if you can tell me, I’ll give you my thoughts.”

The author of the article which the site lists as its Deputy Editor, Tom Slate proceeds Brown by “adding gasoline to the fire” calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “nebulous hashtag-come-protest movement,” “agitators and beggars,” and even refers to leaders of the movement as “prolific tweeters.”
After Slate’s barrage of insults, the article continues with more comments reportedly made by Brown that include:
“There is no comparison…The next wave of young people running out here, who are complaining and protesting about the murders of young black men and women by the police all over the country, they will protest, but they will not rise up in an organized fashion, with an agenda, to create revolutionary change… We advocated community self-defense organizations to be formed so that we would not be assaulted by the police, so that we would bear arms and assume our human rights.”
Brown then finishes off Slate’s onslaught with her reported statement:
“This to me is a plantation mentality. It smacks of “master if you would just treat me right.” And it has nothing to do with self-determination, empowerment and a sense of justice, or anything else.”

These statements garnered almost immediate retort from various black-catered media outlets, social media users, and fellow activists.

Just two days after Slate’s alleged interview with Brown, prominent activist and BLM figurehead Shaun King [2] sat down with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now to offer a much more nuanced response in comparison to the vehement backlash directed towards Brown on social media where he says:
“When Elaine got involved in the Black Panther Party, it was about two years old. And that’s where we are in the Black Lives Matter movement, as well. And so, I think some of what she did was she evaluated the totality of the Black Panther Party and all that it accomplished in 10 years, and compared it to where we are right now in year two. And so, it’s an unfair comparison to say where we are in year two compared to where the Black Panther Party was in year two.

Two years in, it literally only had 4,000 or 5,000 people, the Black Panther Party, that were committed to it, to its practices. And it was still trying to determine where it went and what it would do. And so, I think if you look at where we are now versus where the Black Panther Party was at this same time, I think we’re doing well…How we do what we do will be uniquely different. Our time is different.

So, I respect her, revere her and admire her, but I was disappointed to read some of what she said.”

In addition to the article, A video posted yesterday by Twitter user @CharMeLoDi that was recorded at the BPP’s 50th Anniversary Conference & Gala held in Oakland, California on the 22nd, shows both Brown and brother of the late Huey Newton elaborating their thoughts on BLM and the article at question. [3]
Brown, starts off very aware of the backlash that the article had received and claims she didn’t know the poster of the article. Despite, she offers a very similar critique. She confident asserts that “Black Lives Matter has no ideology” and other condemning critiques such as referring to the movement as being full of “armchair activists.”

And though many may say that Brown’s critique reeks of elitism and condescension which is fair, her statements still hold truth, a sort of truth which isn’t always soothing.

The truth of the matter is, the Black Panther Party’s aim as stated in their “10 Point Program” was clear. [4] The 10 Point Program was a declaration that many have voted more actionable and efficient.
To gain a better understanding of today’s Black Liberation climate, we must also acknowledge that there is a faction of Black Lives Matter which is an organization and there is also “Black Lives Matter the movement” which Black Americans and other groups within the African Diaspora individually interpret thus making it hard to have the same concise structure and ideological cohesion.
As for now, this is the focal point of the official Black Lives Matter organization according to the official website:[5]

“Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.

It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer, and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all.

Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.”

With this stated, many have theorized that the Black Lives Matter organization is more geared towards alleviating intercommunal homophobia, stigma, and adversities of Black Queer (LGBT) communities by utilizing racial injustices as a vehicle to make a safer space for a marginalized group within another marginalized group, a stark contrast from BPP’s Ten Point Program.
This aim has also gotten a lot of flack as many suggest it is not an aim for black liberation but LGBT rights intersectionality and that the movement would affect more being “race first.” The late activist Darren Seals used social media to express his thoughts on this [6] and because of it, Black Lives Matter has been eerily silent about his murder.
In the 1960’s, the late Fred Hampton, a chairman within the BPP until his assassination, alluded that both capitalism and economics played a huge role in the tribulations of not only black people but all people subjugated within the system of white supremacy. This ideal was manifested through the Black Panther Party’s various programs not only that fed and clothed but provided communities with employment, housing, education, and healthcare. [7] I myself, know elders who gleefully remember BPP’s golden era and militant yet empowering presence within black communities.
The official Black Lives Matter website states the following in regards to its own manifestations in attempts to counter any misconceptions:

“Many believe the Black Lives Matter movement has no agenda — other than yelling and protesting and disrupting the lives of white people. This is also false. Since the earliest days of the movement in Ferguson, groups like the Organization for Black Struggle, the Black Lives Matter Network, and others have made both clear and public a list of demands.

Those demands include swift and transparent legal investigation of all police shootings of black people; official governmental tracking of the number of citizens killed by police, disaggregated by race; the demilitarization of local police forces; and community accountability mechanisms for rogue police officers. Some proposals like the recently launched Campaign Zero by a group of Ferguson activists call for body cameras on every police officer.

But other groups are more reticent about this solution since it would lead to increased surveillance and possible invasions of privacy, not to mention a massive governmental database of information about communities of color that are already heavily under surveillance by government forces.”
This affirmation is highly questionable for some as many activists are accessible on social media. As well complaints from marginalized yet publicized communities such as Ferguson following tensions from the killing of Mike Brown and others that openly express their overall discontent with BLM.
Some are even claiming that despite their presence within these communities when tensions erupted, they’ve just protested, had accumulated photo and press opportunities while leaving the dirty work to residents with little resources left behind and usually have to rebuild on their own.
Longtime Ferguson, Missouri activist Nyota Uhura conspired in this interview that many hierarchal activists were either paid anarchists or “planted” in Ferguson at the height of it’s notoriety.[8] She also says they’ve held many fundraising initiatives in which little to none was invested in efforts to rebuild Ferguson’s infrastructure after riots had taken place in 2014. Ferguson business owners such as Dellena Jones,[9] who have affected and almost put out of business by various protests and riots have had to result to fundraising efforts of her own with no help from Black Lives Matter as stated in this article.[10]

Another activist and founder of Occupy The Hood, Malik Rhasaan, one time had gone on a brief Twitter rant that blankets the Black Lives Matter movement as orchestrated [11] and also sadly apologizes to black youth for being sold out.[12]

Also and oddly enough, According to this article published by Washington Post shortly after tensions had flared in Ferguson, a hashtag #CutTheCheck had gone viral due to activists demanding pay from an organization that had paid some demonstrators as much as $5,000 per month. [13]
But to be fair, Black Lives Matters despite any uncertainty that surrounds the movement, has in fact empowered many black millennials worldwide to be more involved in their communities and develop a greater awareness of skewed race relations between peoples of the African Diaspora and those who have brutalized, exploited us and seek to make us a permanent underclass.

It’s also undeniable that if Black Lives Matter seeks to make a long lasting impact and be a vehicle for change, they must consider centralizing and adopt a more self-determined philosophy which many doubt will happen.
Debates surrounding the Black Panther Party and Black Lives Matter may never end.

Given the rise and fall of Black Liberation movements before Black Lives Matter, I would insert my thesis that things would go much smoothly if both millennials and our elders embrace the idea of intergenerational equity.

Lastly, though Brown has valid assessments her assuming responsibility to better educate the younger activists and gracefully passing the torch would have been more of the upright thing to do.


Author Credits:

Feathers Scott Twitter/IG: @inthe9thhouse | Facebook: Feathers Scott |

8 thoughts on “Is Black Lives Matter Taking Us Forward or Backwards?

  1. JayBay says:

    It’s taking us backwards. Any group that gets its funding and support from white people (George Soros/ The NAACP) is doomed to fail. As long as blacks continue to worship white people (white Jesus) or celebrate ANY of their holidays (how many of you still celebrated 4th of July despite all the shit that’s happened recently?) you will always be oppressed. Same with the black church which has recently proven itself to be useless when it comes to organizing black people to do anything except pass the collection plate.

    1. asa says:

      I could not agree more. Well said!

    2. Imam Amed says:



      “What if I told you there was a ‘prophet’ out there that is so WHITE, he makes Anderson Cooper look like Mike Tyson? He’s so WHITE, he makes a bowl of vanilla ice cream yell, ‘Get him out of here, he’s blinding me!’ He’s so WHITE, his 9-year-old child bride, Aisha, didn’t need a night light.”

      “Many people who don’t read the Muslim sources assume that Muhammad was dark-skinned, but Arabs are classified as Caucasians and they can exhibit a variety of shades and tones”.

      If we were to look for Muhammad in the midst of his fellow Arabs, al-Bukhari writes in his Hadith:

      Narrated Anas bin Malik: While we were sitting with the Prophet in the mosque, a man came riding on a camel. He made his camel kneel down in the mosque, tied its foreleg and then said, “Who amongst you is Muhammad?” At that time the Prophet was sitting amongst us (his Companions) leaning on his arm. We replied, “This WHITE man reclining on his arm.”

      SAHIH MUSLIM 6081:

      It was narrated that Abu Juhaifah said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah with a WHITE complexion and some white hairs.”

      SAHIH MUSLIM (6071):

      It was narrated from Al-Jurairi from Abu At-Tufail: “I said to him: ‘Did you see the Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘Yes, he was WHITE with an elegant face.”

      Muslims sources go out of their way to point out the “WHITENESS of his [Muhammad] shins,” the “WHITENESS of the thigh,” the “WHITENESS of his leg” the “WHITENESS of his stomach,” the “WHITENESS of his forearms,” the “WHITENESS of his armpits” and the “WHITENESS of his cheeks.”

      To celebrate the history of Africa and especially black history, let’s commit to memory the names of Muhammad’s slaves.
      These are the names of Muhammad’s male slaves: Yakan Abu Sharh, Aflah, ‘Ubayd, Dhakwan, Tahman, Mirwan, Hunayn, Sanad, Fadala Yamamin, Anjasha al-Hadi, Mad’am, Karkara, Abu Rafi’, Thawban, Ab Kabsha, Salih, Rabah, Yara Nubyan, Fadila, Waqid, Mabur, Abu Waqid, Kasam, Abu ‘Ayb, Abu Muwayhiba, Zayd Ibn Haritha, and Mahran.
      The female slaves are Salma Um Rafi’, Maymuna daughter of Abu Asib, Maymuna daughter of Sa’d, Khadra, Radwa, Razina, Um Damira, Rayhana, Mary the Coptic, in addition to two other maid-slaves.
      Source – Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in “Zad al-Ma’ad” (Part I, p. 160) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya: “Zad al-Ma’ad” (his book) (Volume One, p. 116)

      “Ham [Africans] begat all those who are black and curly-haired, while Japheth [Turks] begat all those who are full-faced with small eyes, and Shem [Arabs] begat everyone who is handsome of face with beautiful hair. Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.”
      Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 21, p. 21
      “Shem, the son of Noah was the father of the Arabs, the Persians, and the Greeks; Ham was the father of the Black Africans; and Japheth was the father of the Turks and of Gog and Magog who were cousins of the Turks. Noah prayed that the prophets and apostles would be descended from Shem and kings would be from Japheth. He prayed that the African’s color would change so that their descendants would be slaves to the Arabs and Turks.”
      Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 11, p. 11

      Muslim Arab and Persian literature depicts Blacks as “stupid, untruthful, vicious, sexually unbridled, ugly and distorted, excessively merry, and easily affected by music and drink.”

      Nasir al-Din Tusi, a famous Muslim scholar said of Blacks:
      “The APE is more capable of being trained than the NEGRO.”

      Ibn Khaldun, an early Muslim thinker, writes that Blacks are
      “the only humans who are closer to DUMB ANIMALS than to rational beings.”

      IBN SINA, AVICENNA 980–1037
      Muslim Arab’s most famous and influential philosopher/scientist in Islam, described BLACKS as:
      “All African women are prostitutes, and the whole race of African men, are abed (slave) stock.” He equated black people with “RATS plaguing the earth.”

      Ibn Khaldum, an Arab historian stated that:
      “Blacks are characterized by levity and excitability and great emotionalism,”
      “they are everywhere described as STUPID.”

      al-Dimashqi, an Arab pseudo scientist, wrote:
      “the Equator is inhabited by communities of BLACKS who may be numbered among the SAVAGE BEASTS. Their complexion and hair are burnt and they are PHYSICALLY & MORALLY ABNORMAL. Their brains almost boil from the sun’s heat…..”

      Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani painted this no less horrid picture of black people:
      “…..the zanj (the blacks) are overdone until they are burnt, so that the child comes out between black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with uneven limbs, DEFICIENT MINDS AND DEPRAVED PASSIONS…..”

      The Arabs were the first to enslave Africans, starting from 650 CE. Ten times more millions of African slaves were involved in the Islamic experience than in the Trans-Atlantic slavery of Africans by the West. Between 650 CE and 1905 CE, over twenty million African slaves had been delivered through the Tans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world and a hundred million through the East African route. Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa, ‘estimates that over 80 million more died en-route Trans-Sahara’ and trice as many through the Eastern route.

      A text from Dr. Azumah’s book provides this quote from a Zanzibar observer, about the travails of African slaves, en-route to slave markets, around the Arabic world.

      “As they filed past, we noticed many chained together by the neck… The women, who were as numerous as the men, carried babies on their backs in addition to a tusk of ivory or other burden on their heads… It is difficult to adequately describe the filthy state of their bodies; in many instances not only scarred by [the whip], but feet and shoulders were a mass of open sores… half-starved ill-treated creatures who, weary and friendless, must have longed for death.”

      Muslims are told that Africans have hearts “grosser than a donkey” (Surah 9:61) .

      Ishaq: 243 “I heard the Apostle say: ‘Whoever wants to see Satan should look at Nabtal!’ He was a black man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy cheeks…. Allah sent down concerning him: ‘To those who annoy the Prophet there is a painful punishment.” [Surah 9:61] “Gabriel came to Muhammad and said,

      ‘If a black man comes to you his heart is more gross than a donkey’s.’

  2. Spirit of Bookman says:

    You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts.

  3. Jelani says:

    Can’t truly have a black organization that’s funded by whites. The car goes wherever the person who paid for the gas needs to go. Even if he’s not the one in the drivers seat.

  4. MagnumBoom says:

    Despite any ill feelings abut the BLM everyone must admit one thing: They got everyone’s attention on Black issues, in a positive manner or not, they helped make Black issues front page news. For that if nothing else, they have helped. Today, outrage over injustice against Black people is obligatory and that’s a good thing.

  5. CL Smooth says:

    It matters not whether we are short, tall, male, female, gay, queer, straight, light, dark, skinny, thick, bald, natural, permed, weaved up, wet, dry, hot, cold, and etc when we are Black (inwardly and or outwardly) and live in this country (or another) on this planet, in the past or now, we have been, are, and will be a target of the white racist belief that they are superior to us and so therefore can do or say anything to us at any given time on any given day. The sooner we realize that it is our insistence on being disparate people in disparate organizations where cultures of individualism and disunity are able to grow, the faster we’ll be able to fight against this oppression. We talk too darn much about our differences in the public sphere, and thus we provide our enemy with all the ammo needed to keep us divided.

  6. TBone27 says:

    BLM could well be a way of harnessing black liberation activism into ‘safe’ establishment controlled channels (like destructive riots that make all blacks look like criminals).

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