New Panthers' war on whites
Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Minister King Samir Shabazz wears his on his forehead. Right between the eyes.
Some people wear their heart on their sleeve.
Minister King Samir Shabazz wears his on his forehead. Right between the eyes.
"If you want to stop the revolution, that's what you got to hit," Shabazz said, pointing to the target tattooed onto his forehead. "I fight my oppressor, and I give him the target."
Shabazz is chairman of the New Black Panther Party's Philadelphia chapter. In black beret atop dreadlocks and a black military uniform, he spends most weekdays near City Hall condemning "crackers" and exhorting black passers-by to rise up against their "slavemasters" - and to give him $2 for the party's semi-annual newspaper.
He is one of the most recognizable black militants in a city known, since the days of MOVE, for its vocal black-extremism community.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate activity globally, listed the New Black Panther Party as among the most active and tough-talking of black-separatist groups.
Black Hebrews also have grown increasingly active in recent years, according to the SPLC, especially in Philadelphia, where robed street preachers shout out their beliefs daily near City Hall, the Convention Center, Germantown Avenue and other heavily trafficked areas.
Followers of the movement claim that African-Americans are God's true chosen people because they, not the people traditionally known as Jews, are the real descendants of the biblical Hebrews.
Their views, while often just as extreme, tend to be couched in religious rhetoric about "Edomites" (the descendants of Esau) and such terms that barely slow the stride of most passers-by.
But Shabazz is more blunt in his views:
* On whites: "I'm about the total destruction of white people. I'm about the total liberation of black people. I hate white people. I hate my enemy. . . ."
* On Jews: "I don't care how much they try to promote the Jewish Holocaust. The African people have suffered a hell of a cost. . . . "
* On Barack Obama and voting: "He's a puppet on a string. I don't support no black man running for white politics. I will not vote for who will be the next slavemaster." Besides, he added, Obama is "a Negro who doesn't even support reparations for black people in America."
* On white supremacists: "They're sissies; they want to put their feelings on a flier. Well, come into the black neighborhood with that rhetoric and we will show you what a strong awakened black man looks like."
* On the Phillies: "They can kiss my ass. The Phillies are not doing nothing for our 'hoods."
Shabazz, who also considers himself a Black Hebrew, said that his beliefs are rooted in high school, where lessons about slavery led to an "awakening."
He doesn't like to talk about himself. He won't divulge his real name, which he shed years ago because it was a "slave name that still had an umbilical cord on it."
He lives "wherever black people is, that's where I live."
He's 38 and has children, but he won't say how many or provide any more details about his personal life, partly for security reasons but also because this reporter is a "cracker."
He listens to "revolutionary, cracker-killing hip-hop" on his headphones and says things like: "I'll get black to you on that."
And he says that he never worries what response his violent rhetoric might provoke in listeners.
"The only thing the cracker understands is violence," said Shabazz, whose face also bears the tattoos "Freedom," "BPG" (Black Power Gang) and "NBPP" (New Black Panther Party). "The only thing the cracker understands is gunpowder.
"You got to take violence to violence." *