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  • Writer's pictureMona Ray

Political Violence & False Identity Part 3

#violence #politicalviolence #identity #whoamI #discrimination

Today I want to continue the topic of political violence as rotted in false identity. Also, I'd like to show how oppression and exploitation end in a violent conflict. I want to break down the heroic fight of the black community of America. I'd like to show how hostility causes hostility, in situations where peaceful self-defence fails like the passive resistance of M.L. King that was replaced by Malcolm X's violent philosophy.

These historical events show structural conduciveness where the interaction between strain and lack of room for peaceful protests leads to violence. This has been seen in prisons and labour, settings strikes, and demonstrations that occurred in circumstances like that. For example, the four-day riots in Attica prison in 1971 where prisoners demanded more human treatment and conditions resulted in forty deaths (31 prisoners, 9 gourdes) shot by military forces (Olsson, 2011). It shows how this kind of political tension leads to disorder, the conflict between authorities and opposed groups and creates radicalism, rebellion, protest, and revolutionary movements (Ruggiero, 2006). Authorities who persuade violence receive violence from the opposition, this is a natural reaction, self-defence of those whose rights are undermined (Ruggiero, 2006). The collective action of the Black Panther Party was an adjustment to the actions of authorities.

Interactionism Theory focuses on the drama as an object of study including those powerful actors such as police, physicians, school officials and parents who impute their deviance stick (Ruggiero, 2006). However, deviance is not heritage, even killing is not ‘naturally' deviant because some killing is classified as a homicide and others not (Ruggiero, 2006). The labelling theory explains this. For example, someone who demonstrates a peaceful protest might be charged with violent offences. Moreover, a freedom fighter can be labelled a terrorist or a deviant, but the label depends on the group that name that person. Authorities will call that person a deviant but the opposition a self-defence act. This exactly happened with the Black Panther Party which was self-defending from police brutality. Still, the Panthers were treated as deviants. The paradox of the situation is that the Black Panthers did not break the law. They had the right to carry guns accordingly to California's law for self-protection, but they were labelled as deviants. Thus, it is worth asking who was deviant, oppressed black communities or authorities who abused the power with impunity. The fact is that police brutality triggered the violence in black communities. Thus, this type of violence for positive social change has a strong justification. Yet, the Black Panther Party disobeyed the law and employed the notion of its universality for its self-defence. Still, the institutions played a role in labelling protesters as violent (Ruggiero, 2006). Still, political groups make their self-labelling in their favour. This happens regardless of institutional pressure to accept the mirror image that is presented to them (Ruggiero, 2006). Blacks refused to mirror the hate against themselves and had to learn to love themselves. Malcolm X who was seen as a ‘hate teacher' noticed this issue and pointed out that America teaches Blacks to hate themselves. A classic example is Uncle Sam who says: 'to hate our skin, to hate our hair, to hate our features, hate our blood, hate what we are (Ruggiero, 2006, p.121). However, why to hate any colour, a colour is just a colour, the problem is when we identified ourselves with that colour and make personal preferences concerning which colour is better.

Firstly, identifying with colour is false. I have argued this in my previous post. Secondly, who has the right to decide which colour is better? It's nonsense. Still, based on their colour Blacks were seen as a group of ‘broken' people thus they were thinking about themselves this way. Eventually, they said: ‘no' to any negative labelling and violence and started to write their history, claiming that black is beautiful and worthy, fighting against mirroring haters against themselves. Of course, black is beautiful, honestly, it’s one of my favourite colours. Still, Malcolm X’s inspiration started a healing process for those labelled broken, and these changes were important not only at a social level but also at a personal level. Blacks started to gain self-love and self-confidence which were destroyed for so many years by Whites.

Here I want to point out that false identification works badly for both sides, for black people because they felt worse and for white people because they felt superior. The events and phycological processes were deeply rooted in the false concept that you are the labels and the material body. Which consequently led to political provocation and self-defence. Furthermore, the Panthers fought for African Americans in a broader context of colonialism and the enslavement of 22 million Afro-Americans (Ruggiero, 2006). The Black Panther Party played their dramaturgical role in the context of a political conflict where they were labelled as deviants by authorities. This is how Malcolm X in 1964 describes the situation "Sometimes when a person's house is on fire and someone comes in yelling 'fire', instead of the person who is awakened by the yell being thankful, he makes the mistake of charging the one who awakened him with having set the fire. I hope that this little conversation tonight about the black revolution won't cause many of you to accuse us of initiating it when finding out it at your doorstep" (Ruggiero, 2006). I have great respect for Malcolm X who encouraged a black nationalist party and a minority vanguard to stop begging or turning the other cheek and to take militant and uncompromised actions. Malcolm X aimed for a violent revolution against racism and discrimination. He fought not only for blacks but also for Asians and Latin Americans who shared the same racial intolerance from white authorities. Malcolm X wanted a violent revolution with bloodshed on both sides. The interactionist dynamics that are visible in Malcolm's speech show how intolerance and violence of a criminal system led to an escalation of violence. Malcolm X argues that if non-violence will be adopted by Ku Klux Klan or the White Citizens Council and others who inflict brutality against Blacks, then he would accept no violent way of fighting (Ruggiero, 2006). The interaction between oppressors and oppressed forms meaning that is defined by their activities.

This story is an example of the dynamic of political conflicts that are based on a false identity, labelling and interactionism that leads to hate and discrimination in many historical examples where people kill others because of race, nation or so-called religion.

This is the end of Political Violence and False identity I wonder what you think, share with me your reflections.

Next week I will write about psychological profiling.

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