Power to the People Essay

Submitted By spottedelk
Words: 932
Pages: 4

“Power to the People” Film Response

Filmmaker Lee Lew Lee’s Power to the People: The Black Panther Party and Beyond was an eye-opener to me. I recall hearing about the Black Panthers, seeing photographs of Panther Party members with guns and knowing that some people claiming to be a part of the American Indian Movement had modeled some of their platform after the Panthers but I knew next to nothing about the party itself. The same holds true for Malcom X. Just about everything I had ever caught of him peripherally portrayed him as a hoodlum, a religious fanatic, or a crazy black guy who advocated violence. I was aware that he was a fiery orator but I never expected him to be such an eloquent speaker -- Neither did I expect so many others from the Black Panther Party to be. There were so many points made in this film that struck me that narrowing it down to just three, is a challenge. Despite having a mixed race boyfriend and other friends in college, I was never exposed to any of their politics. The only thing I learned about Martin Luther King was what I was taught in school which was very little. I retained even less because I never really liked American History, knowing it was full of holes, half-truths and wars. Knowing what little I had picked up over the years, I was surprised to hear Malcolm X say “And I, for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.” That made me want to hear more because I had been under the false impression that he promoted Black Supremacy. A lot of the things he said in his speeches struck a chord with me. I can see how it might have been misinterpreted as being violent but I would first ask myself if he had actually been violent or if he was simply standing his ground against the violence that had been perpetrated against his people for centuries. That doesn’t make one violent. The violence perpetrated against his people has been well-documented and yet not framed in the same light as his resistance to that violence. Something else that struck me while watching the film was what Malcolm X said about token integration. He said “The white power structure today is just as much interested in perpetuating slavery as the white power structure was 100 years ago, only now they use modern methods of doing so…And realizing that Black people in this country are waking up and becoming filled with the desire to be looked upon as men and human beings, the white power structure to slow that struggle for freedom and human dignity, uses tricks. 100 years ago they could do it with chains, today they use tricks…And one of the tricks they’ve invented is this token integration to give so-called Negro leaders to accept a few token crumbs of integration that don’t solve any problems for the masses of Black people in this country whatsoever…But it does make the hand-picked Negroes be satisfied to slow down the cry of the masses.” I would add that it isn’t merely tricks but also by laws sneaked in by large corporations who have paid “think tanks” lobbying and manipulating the laws to serve their interests. Meanwhile ordinary American citizens, depending on their location on the social strata, are either too busy, to distracted or too poor to do much about it. It reminds me of an insidious type of feudalism where Corporations (with their Corporate Personhood) have become the Barons of…