months after a mob of white folks tried to take over the federal
government, white right-wing domestic terrorism remains the greatest
threat to America. And yet, America needs the narrative of the Black
boogeyman and will focus on that, and dismiss the threat coming from
the July 4 weekend, an “hours-long standoff” between
Wakefield, Massachusetts police and “Rise
of the Moors”
received more media attention and news coverage than a Philadelphia
march of white nationalists called Patriot
members of the Rhode Island-based Rise of the Moors — a Black
nationalist group formed decades ago in the spirit of Noble Drew Ali
of the Moorish Science Temple of America and Elijah
of the Nation of Islam — were arrested following a highway
traffic stop. The group was headed to Maine for training and had
camping equipment. Police reportedly noticed the men, armed and with
military gear, parked on the side of the road on I-95. The police
reportedly asked the men for driver’s and gun licenses, which
they did not produce.
Rise of the Moors considers themselves indigenous people and American
nationals but not U.S. citizens. Despite the Southern Poverty Law
Center labeling them as an anti-government, anti-police
sovereign-citizens group, the group’s leader, Jahmal
also known as Talib Abdulla Bey, denied this characterization and
said he sought a peaceful resolution with police. Brother
leader of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, said the Rhode
Island-based Rise of the Moors are not violent terrorists, but rather
are all about Black liberation and empowerment, the Second Amendment
right to bear arms and respect for the law — their own laws
rather than White America’s laws.
in Philadelphia, an estimated 200 white supremacists from the group
Patriot Front marched in Center City in full Nazi regalia, with black
shirts, tan pants and white face masks, and carrying shields and
flags. Reportedly from Texas, they shouted “Reclaim America”
and “The election was stolen” — a reference to
losing the 2020 presidential election to Biden — set off smoke
bombs and had verbal exchanges with passersby. While “angry
one can only imagine the reception these fascists would have received
had they marched in North Philly, where many Black folks live.
in 2017 in the wake of the “Unite the Right” rally in
Charlottesville, Patriot Front calls for the formation of a white
according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, says Black people are
not American, and calls nonwhite people “replacement
populations” that are a threat to Europeans.
a country that cannot control its white supremacy problem, an
existential threat to this nation’s multiracial democracy, the
focus is always on the Black boogeyman. There was racism in the media
coverage of the Rise of the Moors, with references to Black Identity
Extremists, a term the FBI created out of whole cloth to describe
groups that do not exist. An overwhelmingly
with a long history of criminalizing, infiltrating, and neutralizing
Black political groups and assassinating their leadership, the FBI
might as well have called them “Scary Black Men.”
we know how scary Black people with guns are to White America.
in the Black community are not exactly against armed Black folks as
protection against white terrorists, as history demonstrates, from
and the Deacons for Defense to the Black Panther Party and the NFAC.
Luther King Jr.
was nonviolent, but he and the rest of the civil rights movement
depended on guns to protect lives. However, the reality is that Black
people are branded as violent whether they are armed or not.
FBI viewed Dr. King as the “most
dangerous” Black leader in America
and wanted him destroyed, even told him to commit suicide. And
viewed the Black Panthers as “the greatest threat among the
Black extremist groups to the internal security of the United
States,” and their children’s
free breakfast program
“potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to
neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for.”
the white nationalists in the Republican Party regard Black Lives
Matter as terrorists, and athletes such as Colin
as un-American for protesting against racial injustice, even as the
GOP itself is fresh off an unpatriotic U.S. Capitol terrorism spree.
America has ignored the problem of white supremacy for over 400
years, the nation can no longer brush off the threat it poses to
democracy. This is why white nationalist protests are serious
business, and themselves a serious form of violence. Groups such as
the Patriot Front, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters have
a track record and have been emboldened by Trump over the past
white supremacists are showing up and showing out, supported by their
in the government,
This is why we must take white nationalism seriously rather than fall
for the okeydoke and get sidetracked over what some folks have named
as the Black Boogeyman du jour.
supremacy always ends in death. Remember that.
This commentary was originally published by The Grio