Maybe in 1930, new black guerillas were a possibility, but after the integration of Negro soldiers in WW2, the likelihood dropped down to zero.
What people do not seem to understand is how different black Americans actually are. If you want to get an idea, ask how many would like to call themselves:
- Black Americans
- (something else)
Now cross multiply that with (poor, middle class, affluent) and then by (college, no college) and then by (urban, suburban, rural). Then you will have more than 100 categories of so-called blacks. Try to do this with the implicit understanding that probably the only thing all of these people have in common is a history of other people trying to lump them all into one racial category. ‘The Black Community’. You have no idea how different they actually are.
Understand that it is in the interest of racists that you never find out.
So the history of domestic guerrilla warfare by African Americans (the generic historical term) is chock full of failure, there being almost no record of success with the possible exception of Rosewood, as portrayed in the John Singleton film of the same name. There was a symbolic victory in the rampage of Nat Turner’s rebellion. But nothing less than the full horror and cost of the American Civil War made enough difference for the fates of African Americans to be changed through the systematic application of strategic violence.
What was highly significant and often overlooked is the Great Migration. It’s the reason there are African Americans in every state, not merely as legacies of the slaveholding South. The last time I checked, the highest median income for African Americans was found in New Hampshire.
So considering the fact that it took a civil war over slavery to unite African Americans in violent revolt (Even Harriet Tubman missed out on the Powers Ferry Raid), what are the chances that African American police and servicemen are going to allow some semi-organized gang warfare take them from their duties? There have been far too many race riots in this country for us to expect anything radically more sustained than what we have already seen. Nothing in America is so horrible that millions of African Americans would collaborate in violent rebellion. The prospect is negligible and the idea is preposterous.
That is not to suggest that violent rebellion isn’t possible or that African Americans are anything special. I guarantee you that if the American government put tanks on the streets to put down protests, like the Chinese government did at Tienanmen, black Americans would stand in violent defiance like everybody else.
We Americans simply haven’t been pushed that far.
The situation is not so dire. Nobody is that radicalized.
You can already witness the resistance of tens of millions of Americans to COVID rules. Clearly, this could very well be a matter of life and death. I’m saying that’s normal. But nobody is killing black Americans that requires such violent vengeance, except for that fraction who live and die by gangsta rap narratives. And you can obviously tell the rest of us don’t feel as if this warrants guerrilla action against the government. We don’t even demand gangsta rap’s removal from the airwaves as incitement.
Nobody wants to be a fist pumping rebel a la Public Enemy. But we might take a poll and see what fraction of African Americans align themselves with someone like Mumia Abu-Jamal. My nickel says 2–5%, and I’d bet most of them are either in the Ivory Tower or behind bars.
The ‘fire next time’ will be put out by the next Wednesday. Except maybe in Portland.