Baltimore is in a state of unrest and the mainstream media is condemning protestors as vigilantes. In other words, when it comes to black rage and pain, it’s business as usual.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “a riot is the language of the unheard.”
Throughout history, riots and have revolution have gone hand in hand. From the Boston Tea Party to Nat Turner to the L.A riots, there has never been revolution without them. To dismiss the riots as just the actions of “thieves” trying to get free stuff is to ignore history. While Whoopi Goldberg and President Obama may condemn the protestors, I understand that there won’t be any change without them.
These aren’t simply acts of violence; these are cries for help from the people of Baltimore, who are fed up.
This brutality didn’t start and nor will it end with Freddie Gray. Since 2011, the city of Baltimore has lost or settled over more than 100 cases of police brutality, paying more than $5.7 million in awards and settlements. .
The statistics in Baltimore are staggering:
Baltimore has the fifth highest murder rate in the country. In the zip code where the rioting took place, the unemployment rate is 19.1% — more than twice the national average. Reportedly, less than 60% of high school students graduate.
No jobs+terrible school system = a community with little no hope. The residents of Baltimore are struggling to survive.
Freddie Gray was murdered by the Baltimore police department. He suffered a cruel death. His spine was literally broken and by the time he reached the police station, he had three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voice box. It then took the police 45 minutes before they reached the station. No one is sure what happened during that time and we still have no idea why he was arrested in the first place.
Although the arresting officers were suspended for their actions, we’re still don’t have any answers.
The reality is they don’t care about us or our community until it becomes the next talking point on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. Cable news pundits are quick to point out that the businesses in our neighborhoods are burning, but the reality is that we don’t own these businesses. When we go into those businesses, we aren’t treated with respect. We have no allegiance to these so called businesses in our community.
Unfortunately, it is also a grim reality that when the flames are out, folks get self-righteous on social media. All of a sudden, people care about the CVS pharmacy and what the media thinks of us. Why? They don’t think of us any other time.
Black people are literally on the news every single day because they have been murdered by the police. Just this week alone, we’ve lost Terrance Kellom and Hector Morejon. It’s only Wednesday! This as we still reel from the devastating decision in the Rekia Boyd case.
We are more than sick and tired. We are through.
Black rage and pain has always made white people uncomfortable and scared. It’s only when you threaten property or disrupt the status quo that anything about your Blackness and Black neighborhood concerns them.
Neighborhoods in Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit have had to get comfortable with terrible conditions for decades. There are still blocks in cities across the country that were never rebuilt after the 1968 riots.
Sadly, by the time you read this piece, another Black person will probably be killed by the police. Because we are killed by the police every 28 hours. Just let that sink in.
While I’m not out there throwing rocks at the police, I understand.
Our rage and pain is real and we will be heard.