Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Huey Newton On Feminism And Gay Rights

I had never read anything by Huey Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, before I saw this speech of his from 1970 discussing feminism and gay rights.  It's really something:
sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have...

...Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people. 
It's amazing to see such forceful prejudices combined with the ability to reflect on them and overcome them.  There have been a lot of political views claiming origins in Marxist thought, and a lot of them have been really bad.  But this way of looking at things where oppressed groups understand how much they have in common with each other and stop oppressing each other is impressive.
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