Yeah, Let's Chill With The "KKK Clashes With The Black Panthers" Headlines And Story Angles


(Quick thoughts about this weekend's rallies in South Carolina to protest the removal of the Confederate flag)


1. I mean, I get it. The Ku Klux Klan was present at this rally. As were some Black pride groups, including those affiliated with the Black Panthers. And, I would assume that if a KKK member and a Black Panther were to meet each other, they probably wouldn't share hummus recipes. Also, you can't really ask for a better, more explosive headline than one that includes both the KKK and the Black Panthers — the Batman and Superman of American racial pride groups.

Except, that last part — the part about them being the Batman and the Superman — is completely misleading. Putting them in the same headline does suggest some type of racial Avengers battle. "Ok…you guys get your hate group all-stars. And we'll get our hate group all-stars. And we'll see." But they're not the same thing.

The KKK is a terrorist organization specifically created to terrorize A) Black people and B) people who tried to prevent them from terrorizing Black people. The Black Panthers — an organization that's far from perfect — were created to protect Black people from terrorism. And…they weren't even there. It was the New Black Panther Party — which has no official connection to the Black Panthers.

But headlines such as the one found on Slate ("At Least Five Arrested as KKK, Black Panther Group Clash in South Carolina") and CNN ("KKK and Black Panthers hold rallies at South Carolina Capitol, supporters clash") and NPR ("KKK, Black Panthers Clash At South Carolina Statehouse Rallies") make the KKK and the Black Panthers seem to be analogous. And combines the New Black Panthers with the Black Panthers, while fanning the misinformed flames of the people who use the Panthers as their racial boogeymen.

Also, the headlines suggest the KKK and the Black Panthers got into some type of brawl. Which, if you keep reading, just didn't happen.

From Slate.

At least five people were arrested Saturday as Klu Klux Klan members and black American groups clashed outside the South Carolina Statehouse. Around 50 members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan gathered to protest the July 10 removal of the Confederate flag, reports the State. The white supremacists were protected from jeering and booing crowds by a line of state police. But a brief fight broke out on the Statehouse lawn.

The KKK members arrived just as, on the other side of the Statehouse, the Black Educators for Justice were ending a rally. At its peak, the crowd reached around 2,000 people, who were “fairly split between black and white protesters and observers, many toting cameras to document the spectacle,” notes the State.


Basically, the White hate group clashed with a large group of people against hate. And that group of people against hate included many Whites.

2. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the place where the "the Confederate flag is not a symbol of hate" people are meeting today, after an entire weekend of very visible White hate groups using that flag as a symbol of hate.


I can imagine them just all sitting in a room, seething and silent for an hour, until someone says "Did you hear about Tiger Woods?" And then more silence. And a minute later, the same guy says "It's just crazy how bad he is now." And then more silence. And another minute later "I mean, he didn't even make the cut, and…." And then he gets cut off, by other guy saying "Not now, Chester. Not now."

And then another hour of silence.

3. I'm not surprised that the photo of the Black cop helping the White supremacist suffering from heat stroke has gone viral. But I don't think it's some metaphor for racial unity and/or forgiveness or something. I just see a guy doing his job. And with certain jobs, if there's a pile of shit sitting on the ground, you have to take care of the shit. It doesn't mean you forgive the shit. Or want to reconcile with the shit. It just stinks and you just don't want anyone to step in it.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


I'm sure Huey Newton is turning over in his grave. For the life of me I can't understand why original Panthers don't speak up and protect the image of the Black Panther Party.

As for the nonsense in South Carolina; sometimes you have to learn to accept a win. We won. The flag is gone. So let the Klan and anyone else who wants to stand out there and scream themselves silly. We don't need to be there.

We have other battles to fight. #sandrabland