In the wake of the white supremacist rallies turned riots in Charlottesville of August this year, the FBI had begun investigating a new terrorist threat – but they weren’t the neo-Nazi rioters armed head to toe ready to start a war.
The FBI was investigating a group they refer to as ‘Black Identity Extremists’.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, defines the term as “a conglomeration of black nationalists, black supremacists, and black separatists, among other disaffiliated racist individuals who are anti-police, and/or seeking to rectify perceived social injustices against blacks”
If this seems like a vague description of an already vague term, that’s because it was done to put black nationalists and peaceful protesters under the same blanket term. Even the SPLC states that “It can be easily misconstrued as focusing on black activists (who are law-abiding and peaceful).”
This is where history repeats itself.
Almost 47 years ago, 14 Chicago Police officers raided the house of Black Panther Party leaders and members, killing Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, wounding several young Panthers and arresting seven raid survivors on bogus attempted murder charges.
To give some perspective on the situation, the police officers shot around 100 times with a recorded one shot from all the Black Panthers involved all together.
This was under COINTELPRO, a series of secret, often illegal, projects conducted by the FBI aimed at “surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting American Political Organizations”
The FBI is known for targeting protestors who may ‘threaten’ law enforcement. Former FBI agent, Mike German has said himself that “The use of terms like ‘black identity extremist’ is part of a long-standing FBI attempt to define a movement where none exists.”
Although there isn’t definitive proof that the FBI has used this term to harass black people – yet – we can only see what the future holds for us Black Identity Extremists.