Changjiang Liu Essay 2

Topics: Black people, African American, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 6 (1478 words) Published: December 9, 2014
Changjiang Liu
AMST 252
Essay 2
Professor Francille Rusan Wilson
TA: Maytha Alhassen
11/10/2013

When talking about the perspective of Assata Shakur, we always remember her radical style. Assata felt the power of oppression when she was a child. As she narrated in her autobiography, there was a zoo near her grandparents’ home. Everyday she would beg, plead, whine and nag her grandmother to take her to the zoo. However, one day her grandmother told her that they were not allowed to enter the zoo because they were black (Shakur 27). This childhood memory left a deep impression of segregation on Assata. When discussing the origin of Assata’s radicalness, we can conclude that her childhood memory was one important reason. Shakur saw government as enemy. In her speech Women in Prison: How We Are that is documented in Let Nobody Turn Us Around, she drastically denounced the government that was mainly made up by white people: “Politicians are considered liars and crooks. The police are hated”(Marable & Mullings 509). In other words, she suggested that government couldn’t be trusted. Police were considered to have two standards in treating black people and white people only because of color. Her perspective could be proved and verified by Assata’s own experience in prison. When she told the public the oppression she suffered in prison, she indicated that most prisoners, including herself, have been abused by “the system”, which is considered as prison system by her. (Marable & Mullings 507). Assata’s personal experience let her know the unfairness of jurisprudence of the country towards Africans Americans at that time. Shakur saw history as a very important part of pursuing rights for African Americans. One reason that she left Black Panther Party is that she thought the party failed to realize the importance of history. She criticized the party drastically: “They were reading the Red Book but didn’t know who Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, and Nat Turner were. They talked about intercommunalism but still really believed that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. A whole lot of them barely understood and kind of history, Black, African or otherwise”(Shakur 221). In her opinion, understanding history helps African Americans to understand the meaning and value of their movement. Once people know their goals and values by history, they know why they take part in the movement and what should they do. Comparing Assata’s political view with other nationalists and feminists, we can find some similarities and some of Assata’s distinctiveness. Although Malcolm X is also considered as a radical activist, the extent of his radicalness is quite small compared with Assata Shakur. They both believed that government would not protect African Americans at all. As Malcolm X referred in his speech The Ballot or The Bullet:“ You and I in America are faced not with a segregationist conspiracy, we are faced with a government conspiracy” (Marable & Mullings 407). Similar to Assata’s perspective that politicians are liars, Malcolm X also thought that Black people could not rely on government. In the opinion of Assata and Malcolm X, black people must do something by themselves in order to live a better life. However, Malcolm X didn’t engage in terrorism like Assata did. He thought that African Americans didn’t need to attack white people and police. Malcolm would like to see white people as untrustworthy competitors. In his opinion, African Americans should understand the importance of controlling the economy of their community (Marable & Mullings 410). Additionally, he also encouraged African Americans to control the politics and the politicians in their own community (Marable & Mullings 410). In this way, African Americans could live without others’ help. Malcolm X’s perspective was more feasible and realistic compared with the one of Assata. He realized that the most valuable power of black people is economic and social power rather than...

Cited: Shakur, Assata. Assata: an autobiography. Zed Books, 1987.
Henderson, Thelton. "Confronting the Crisis of California Prisons." USFL Rev. 43 (2008): 1.
“Prison Conditions”, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol.3, No.3, pp. 169-170, University of California Press
Mckissick, Floyd. “CORE Endorses Black Power.” In Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African American Anthology, edited by Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
X, Malcolm. “The Ballot or The Bullet.” In Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African American Anthology, edited by Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Shakur, Assata. “Women in Prison: How We Are.” In Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African American Anthology, edited by Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Davis, Angela Y. “I Am a Revolutionary Black Woman.” In Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African American Anthology, edited by Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Lorde, Audre. “I Am Your Sister.” In Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African American Anthology, edited by Marable, Manning, and Leith Mullings. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Changjiang Liu Essay1
  • Evaluative essay comp 2
  • essay 2
  • essay #2
  • essay 2
  • Essay 2
  • Essay #2
  • Essay 2

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free