American Justice and the Imaginary “Black Identity Extremists”

Representative Karen Bass of California
Representative Karen Bass of California

“Black Identity Extremists”. No one knows who they are, where they can be found or what the label even means. It is where the controversy begins for African Americans and those concerned about truth and justice in America.
Representative Karen Bass of California took the opportunity at a recent Congressional hearing before the House Judiciary Committee to pointedly ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions who these extremists are. He could not provide her with an answer. Congresswoman Bass then pointed out that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had published a report entitled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers.” Sessions conceded that he had heard of the report but had not read it, although interested. He also could not answer Bass’ question about who ordered the report.
The surreal and most interesting aspect of the dialogue between Rep. Bass and AG Sessions occurred after she asked him to name Black Identity Extremist groups. He could not, although he asserted they existed. AG Sessions appeared thoroughly stumped when asked why the FBI was investigating nonexistent “Black Extremists” and not active and well-known white extremists such as the KKK.
Rep. Bass pointed out that the FBI report named organizations that were 30 to 40 years old to justify their report. Sessions, however, could not name even one group that currently exists that is known to target police, or deemed as a “black extremist” or “black identity” organization.
Representative Bass pushed her point by stating, “So you should know that many activists around the country are very concerned that we’re getting ready to repeat a very sad chapter of our history, where people who are rightfully protesting what they consider to be an injustice in their community, which is their relationships with police officers, are now being targeted and labeled as extremists and are going through periods of surveillance and harassment, and so I would like to know, what is your department going to do to protect the rights of average citizens to protest if they have a concern about police officers?”
Sessions responded that, “This department will not unlawfully target people.” Nonetheless, it is evident that unlawfully targeting people of color is exactly what is happening. This Congressional hearing reopened wounds for many who had hoped the days of COINTELPRO were a part of America’s past buried and forgotten, but this is not the case.
COINTELPRO is the acronym for Counter Intelligence Program. It was an FBI project that began in the late 1950’s, but most remember as a 1960’s program that targeted the African American individuals and organizations, such as the Black Panther Party, whom the FBI diligently worked to discredit through surveillance, infiltrations and other illegal means to cripple and eradicate the political group advocating “black power” and highlighting systematic injustices against minorities.
Today, it is not lost on African Americans that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a target of COINTELPRO. The realization that a man committed to nonviolence and peaceful existence was only removed from the FBI’s list because he was murdered in cold blood provides much food for thought. Today’s imaginary labeling and targeting of African Americans, once again, signifies that “I have a dream” is just that……a dream.
The FBI report does not support real facts, but rather supports the anti-American rhetoric of white racists and Trumpists. In 2016 the New York Daily News’ Shaun King wrote “71 percent of police who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016 have been killed by good old-fashioned White men. He also wrote: “The number of police who’ve been shot and killed in 2016 is up an astounding 59 percent from where it was this same date last year,” but the overwhelming majority of these killings weren’t at the hands of Black men in hoodies or Latino gang members.
Until Americans of all creeds and colors can receive equal treatment under the law, no one’s dream can be realized. The creation of erroneous reports by the country’s largest law enforcement agency on imaginary “black identity” groups only ignites the flames of hatred and division. At the same time, the fact that the true culprits, one of the longest established “white” hate groups in America, continue to publicly commit crimes against our citizens and solicit new membership is a miscarriage of justice and an open display of institutionalized racism that has no place in our diverse country or culture.