What Does the FBI's New 'Black Identity Extremist' Label Really Mean to Black Organizing?

Malkia Cyril is the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice, an organization best known for its leadership in the fight for net neutrality. But Cyril, who uses the pronouns “they” and ”them,” is now embroiled in a related but distinct fight—one they call “protecting Black dissidents from the FBI.” It’s a fight they’ve been preparing for since they were born to parents who were members of the Black Panther Party.

Colorlines talked to Cyril about revelations that the FBI has created a new designation for contemporary Black activism, “Black Identity Extremism” (BIE). In a leaked August 3, 2017 report titled “Black Identity Extremists  Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” the FBI defines BIEs as:

“[I]ndividuals who seek, wholly or in part, through unlawful acts of force or violence, in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society and some do so in furtherance of establishing a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities, or governing organizations within the United States. The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics may not constitute extremism, and may be constitutionally protected.” 

Read the full interview at Colorlines