The Black Panther Party Didn’t Protect Black Lives With Hashtags

The comparisons between the #BlackLivesMatter movement The Black Panther Party for Self Defense should begin and end with the idea that both were spawned by police brutality.

In the 1960s, the Panthers formed patrols in order to help protect Blacks from being beaten and killed by the police. They used the law, especially the Second Amendment, to keep Blacks safe.

Black Panther PartyIn the age of social media, we are now able to organize and strategize like never before; the internet is a great tool for a social movement (e.g. Arab Spring). The internet is also a great impediment. The problem is that real activism cannot happen from your sofa, bedroom, or bathroom. With the internet, anyone can be made to feel like they are a part of a movement by actions as simple as posting a #Hashtag.

Black Lives Matter

Creating awareness via social media is only one part organizing a successful social movement.

The more comfortable that we get with our technological shortcuts, the less we actually work, the fewer results we gain. Do you think that Marcus Garvey or Dr. King would have opted to fight for equality primarily over social media if they would have had the choice. Do you think that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would have been content with the creation of awareness?

When is the last time that we have seen a social movement achieve great success in the US? Is there any reason to believe that #BlackLivesMatter won’t meet the same fate as #Occupy? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Black Lives Matters’ strategy?

Your thoughts . . .

One thought on “The Black Panther Party Didn’t Protect Black Lives With Hashtags

  1. Awareness is only as useful as it leads to action. I think it’s great to utilize and capitalize on such a wide reaching media tool, but it only satisfies the reach. For some people, this might be exactly what they need to get moving. For others, it’s another item on the feed at which to make that “yep” face and move on to talk about something else. Utilizing social media as a resource is smart, but we need to be smart about the use of all of our resources because they’re all finite and they all will have a peak effect. Now that the awareness is there, what next?


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