By: S. Davis
For a week now I’ve been avoiding the need to address Baltimore, Maryland. A supporter of my page wanted to read my opinion so I decided to cave and put my thoughts out to be read.
Race is a topic that I’m completely comfortable discussing but it’s one that scares the shit out of most people – and I get that. Will just discussing race solve the problems in America? No, it never has. More has to be done but that next step is bewildering and no one has dared to take whatever that next step is in decades. It’s 2015 or maybe it’s 1944 when our country fought overseas to free innocent Europeans from tyranny but continued the practice of domestic segregation, legally.
I completely detest the rioting and looting that took place last week; it was wrong and destructive to the community. Burning the CVS Pharmacy will probably dissuade that corporation from rebuilding there; I hope they’re aware of that. Those jobs may never return to the area, I hope they know that. Also, the sick and elderly that relied on that CVS for prescriptions may have just had their lives unnecessarily altered for the worse.
Now the media had their cameras trained on the rioters and looters. See, I understand that. Why? Simply put, it’s splashy and newsworthy – and should be covered. It’s the same reason why someone could be killed or kids could be abducted and the local news will begin their coverage for the morning or evening with a celebrity breakup. Of all the protesters, those committing crimes were a small percentage. Most of the dissenters were peaceful and never let their anger escalate to violence yet that was rarely highlighted.
What happened nationally, thereafter, wasn’t difficult to predict. White Americans, who are the majority in the United States – and furthermore have more eyes on the news – were shocked to see the rage and unrest. I feel most Americans, somewhere in their hearts, knew the fires, looting and fights weren’t the way to solve anything.
Oddly most of the country, the media, and all the talking heads at networks, ignored why the citizens in Baltimore reacted in the manner in which they did in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death. Gray’s death was just the last straw, so to speak. They were frustrated and a fuse was lit that led to the city imploding.
It all blew up because of a lack of financial mobility, a dying city infrastructure, racial profiling, under-funded and failing schools, the lack of political capital, current and decades-long treatment by the police department, etc.
Consider why the rioting took place – and not that it simply did for all to witness on national news outlets. We are a civilized nation aren’t we? I almost spit up vomit typing that question.
You get the point, right? It seems if your skin is a certain tint you understand more than others. Maybe only certain people are supposed to know…or care.
Everyone gasped, judged and bloviated from their pulpit. The need to editorialize came from every form of media an individual could consume. It was tremendous; a sign of the digital age we know live in. Also, it was sad.
There’s this popular argument going around that “race relations in this country are more poisoned that they’ve ever been” and the “blame” lies squarely on President Barack Obama. A great benefit of the internet is that it highlights how prevalent racism is, currently. Racism is enduring and refuses to die in America, let alone the rest of the world. We DO NOT live in a post-racial society and I doubt that we ever will. I would love to be wrong but I feel confident in the aforementioned statement.
Back to the person in the White House and his relation to the problem of race in this country: Obama is the problem, through no fault of his own…other than having a natural tint to his skin. Meaning that so many people in this country are against a president being anything other than white and male – maybe Hilary Clinton can break through for women – that it doesn’t matter how he attempts to bring Americans together. The audacity of him to stand up and attempt to lead, right? He’s being blamed for income inequality, race relations – and it’s his fault that all these recent, powerful, incidents that are sending black men to the morgue. It has to be someone’s so let’s just blame him.
America turned on its head the night he won the election. There was true hope of a united country and it seemed to be on the precipice of coming to fruition…for about four months. The fact that a black man won the presidency is a deep problem for those – either indirectly or otherwise – that think of the office as a white birthright.
Obama isn’t the problem, here; it’s everyone else that has an issue with him holding that seat, in that office, in that position of power. Period. He’s supposed to work the land not govern it. Am I going too far?
I don’t care about white guilt or shaming whites because of sins linked to slavery – and all the bullshit this country allowed after it. Everyone that’s white didn’t own slaves and there are people walking around whose families played a major part in fighting for equal rights for everyone.
Unfortunately there is putrid ignorance to the fact that whites and blacks (along with other minorities) live in separate versions of America. It’s profoundly disheartening and proven in times like these. Baltimore lashed out because they’ve been ignored and marginalized to the point of despair, suffocation and raw emotion. How else will someone focus on their plight? There are other cities that feel a kinship with those residents because the problems they face as a city are prevalent in other minority-dominated areas. Again, I do not agree with their actions but I understand the factors that steered them to such a potent conclusion.
Baltimore will recover but will it change? My heart goes out to the family of Freddie Gray. I do hope they receive the justice they’re seeking. All six of the police officers have been charged – and I hope they’re punished if they indeed caused his death. We’ll have to wait and see what ultimately comes from all this anguish.
This country makes me cringe but I also fill with pride when I hear the national anthem; such a dichotomy. As protests broke out in other major cities there were moments that made me smile. Protesters screaming, staging sit-ins, yelling, being handcuffed, crying, were people of, wait for it, all colors. What a novel idea.
One that’s far too inconsistent for a nation with “united” in its name.