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Chicano and black radical activism of the 1960s : a comparison between the Brown Berets and the Black Panther Party in California

  • Author(s): Yañez, Angélica María
  • et al.
Abstract

This project seeks to disrupt a black and white paradigm that rests on the foundation of a dominant narrative of American society that creates a binary understanding of race relations in the U.S. This binary privileges the social position and historical trajectory of Euro- Americans by simultaneously creating a deviant "other" through black and brown bodies. I disrupt this binary by centering the parallel experiences of Chicanos and Blacks during the 1960s and 1970s; and see their struggles as a common one. I take a comparative approach in my analysis of the historical Brown Berets and the Black Panther Party and use a Critical Race Theory framework of "counterstories" ; a way for oppressed voices to disrupt dominant narratives of white supremacy, legitimacy, and "truth." I focus on the Power Movements, represented by both groups, which embraced a distinct political and cultural politic that resisted various forms of white racism; this politic typically veered from assimilationist models of integration. I was interested in the comparison of the Brown Berets and the Black Panthers and throughout the literature did not find compelling comparisons about the intersections of both racialized groups. The primary sources that inform this project are the independent newspapers and its' content, published by each organization, La Causa and the Black Panther. Major themes revealed in the newspapers included social justice, self- defense, cultural pride, and a re-evaluation of American society. These primary sources helped me identify the larger social intersections of the Chicano and Black community explicated by both organizations

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