Interview with Huey P. Newton

Could you talk about the political use of language by the Black Panther Party?


Ah, we started to use the symbol, ah, ah, of a pig to identify the police. Ah, I don't know who first presented the, ah, that symbol. But I knew that, ah, images had to be changed. Ah, I, most of my, ah, young life I was a student. And, ah, I know sociologically that, ah, words, the power of the word, words stigmatize people and, ah, we felt that the police needed a label, ah, a label other than that fear image that they carried in the community. So, ah, we used, ah, the pig as the rather low-lifeded[SIC] animal in order to identify the police. And, ah, it worked** We, ah, the community picked it up and, ah, sort of put the police in another category, a category that, ah, was not respected and, ah, a category that, ah, the community could deal with. And, the, ah, police were very offended by it so, it heightened the contradiction between the community and the police.