Violence as a Language

Violence and Literacy. The two terms seem to be on completely different scales when in reality, violence is just a form of literacy. To clear things up, literacy is just knowledge in a specific area. Breaking it down in Angela Davis’ words, from an interview in 1972 speaking about violence, violence in just the content. Violence is then not only the content, but the medium of language.

Language is another form of expressing the knowledge that a person has. Violence is the mode that the Black Panthers used because there was no other way the people would listen. Their literacy is moved through ethos and pathos, using emotional connection and first hand stories for credibility. The combination of these story telling and accounts of times help Angela Davis explain their perspective that was twisted by external people.


The first thing I found was the Black Panthers were formed in response to the brutal violence people of color were experiencing, especially the African communities. The catch was in response “practiced militant self-defense of minority groups against the US government,” and the way Angela Davis explained how the men in these communities had to patrol the neighborhoods at night to protect from a future bombing or attack. When I kept digging, I found,”Originally aimed at armed self-defense against the local police, the party grew to espouse violent revolution as the only means of achieving black liberation,” from an American Textbook. By this quote, they turned the ideology of self defense into a revolution that was aimed to take down the american government.

“No, black men are not an endangered species. Endangered species are protected by the law.” -Chris Rock


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