Re: [sixties-l] Critique of Bruce Franklin >

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: 10/29/00

  • Next message: Jane Lekus: "[sixties-l] Re: Bill Mandel critique of Bruce Franklin..."

    Bill Mandel has been correct on this one. I hardly believe that one can
    extrapolate the experience of Norman, Oklahoma to make a statement, such
    as you have, that the repression of dissent in the US is truly color-blind.
    I offer to you not only the experience of the Black Panthers that were
    targeted for assassination by police and government forces but also
    scores of others, forgotten by the "movement," who have languished in US
    prisons for years, either framed by the "authorities," or serving
    extended sentences for crimes, had the prisoners not been political,
    would have put them back on the streets, free, years ago.
    The reason that whites were sent and went into the South during the
    Civil Rights movement was the belief, largely correct, with the three
    exceptions that have been noted, that they would provide protective
    cover for black activists who would otherwise be beaten or assassinated.
    You see today how right they were.  We don't even know the names of the
    young black men and women who died, with the exception of Jim Chaney,
    and that was only because he was in the company of two young white men
    from the North, as he was himself.
    When they went looking for their bodies, they drained a small pond in
    Philadelphia, Mississippi, and found the bodies of 23 others, all black
    men, all murdered, and all unreported.  Why were they killed?  We'll
    never know, maybe some for expressing what passed for dissent in
    Philadelphia, Mississippi. But I will say one thing. If they had found
    the bodies of 23 white men, it would have made the front pages, not a
    two paragraph story at the bottom of the page.
    Jeff Blankfort
    Michael Wright wrote:
    >> In my critique of Bruce Frankin, I wrote:
    >  "Repression of DISSENT is truly color-blind."
    >   [emphasis added]
    > In his first response Mandel inaccurately quoted
    > me by attributing to me the statement that "repression
    > is truly color-blind" and then proceeded with his
    > attack.  He has been off-course ever since.
    > Now I would like to propose a methodology which
    > a social scientist would use to evaluate my
    > original statement.  Clearly, from the context,
    > I was talking about state-sponsored reprisals
    > intended to punish those engaged in political
    > dissent.  Nothing in my statement denied the
    > fact that Blacks and other non-whites have been
    > victimized in this fashion. The implicit claim
    > was that white radicals have enjoyed no special
    > protection against political repression, granted
    > on the basis of skin color alone.
    > Mandel's factual claims about harsher treatment of
    > blacks accused of non-political crimes, such as rape,
    > have not been challenged by me.  The problem is
    > that they are simply irrelevant to the evaluation
    > of my original statement.
    > To evaluate my statement, one would have to
    > inspect historically a community in which both
    > blacks and whites were, within the same time
    > period, engaged in similar organized activities
    > of political DISSENT, challenging the status quo
    > from a perspective which leftists would agree was
    > progressive. If evidence emerged of more lenient
    > treatment of whites, it would be relevant.
    > If the research were repeated for numerous
    > communities and the pattern repeatedly confirmed,
    > then my statement, viewed as a testable hypothesis,
    > would have to be rejected.
    > Without going into all the anecdotal evidence,
    > I know that my hypothesis would be sustained
    > by the history in Norman, Oklahoma, and OU
    > during the Vietnam years.
    > ~~ Michael Wright
    >   Norman, Oklahoma

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