Dude, What’s Up With The Raised Fist?
Earlier in the existence of BLACKCATHOLIC there was a little “controversy”. When the Facebook extension of my apostolate started to gain some exposure there were a small number of people that had an issue with my page and its use of the raised fist/black power symbol. Some worried about the symbol’s association with Communism, liberation theology, and other leftist political/theological motives condemned by the Church. This controversy played out in the comment section of a popular Catholic Facebook page that shared my apostolate’s page. There were some who, even before checking my page out, detracting against it for what they mistakenly thought it represented. One person from the comment section who criticized my page beforehand later reached out to me and (respectfully) inquired about my use of the raised fist symbol. Even though it was far from my original intent in employing the symbol, I did understand in this moment how some could be confused, worried, or even angry about its usage with a rosary wrapped about it for a Catholic page. Perhaps there are some of you who have discovered my apostolate and have the same confusion, concern, or anger regarding my logo and need to see some sort of an explanation. Thus, I have provided this page in order to dispel any misunderstandings. Here was my response to the person who reached out to me. This also was my public response on the matter as a whole at the time (with some [ ] updated additions):
“My use of the black fist [or raised fist] is pulling from a symbol the Black community has used since the Civil Rights Movement as one of solidarity and racial/cultural pride as Black Americans, especially during darker times. Think of the raised fist given at the 1968 Olympics by Tommie Smith and John Carlos. My interpretation of its usage here is a gesture of Black strength, power, and identity. Though it can be attached to politics and ideologies, my own use of it for BlackCatholic is and always has been completely divorced from those meanings. I combine my particular interpretation of it with my Catholic faith (see the rosary around the fist in the logo) as a symbol of “I’m proud to be Black and Catholic, and draw my strength as a Black person from God and His Catholic Church. In addition, since it is a symbol known and enjoyed in the Black community, my usage of it is a way to help reach out to other Black people for the Catholic Church.
I strive this page [apostolate] to be absolutely faithful to the teaching Magisterium of the Church. Like stated in the pinned post on this page, if you feel that something is off, please reach out in the comments or inbox me [for the website, send me a message here].
This page [and apostolate] has NO affiliation with any communist or far-leftist propaganda. This is a Catholic page [apostolate] for Catholic stuff.”
It should be said that a lot of others who witnessed the controversy (both in that particular comment section and the followers on my page after I released this statement) took no real issue with the symbol. Some had positive interpretations, and some never made any connection with something negative. Here are some of their reactions in the comment section of my statement on my page:
The above screenshots not only show the general intent/goal of my design but also that people saw it as something positive. It also may show the difference a rosary makes!
The whole “affair” only lasted a day or so due to a number of people (complete strangers to me) defending my apostolate and because of my statement being posted both in the original comment section of the other Catholic page and on my own page. The same other Catholic page would go on to share two articles I wrote for uCatholic, and they tagged my page when the articles were shared. There was no other significant incidents of controversy regarding the symbol.
Anyway, I hope this helps in any way it can.