A grueling and unfair death, shocking in its agony, triggered riots in Baltimore, re-igniting discussion that has a lot of uneducated white people, not very in tune with themselves, making comments of a predictable nature. This vocal minority depict the riots as an outgrowth of excuses for mayhem and not as a response to oppression and they are as wrong as can be. Public dialogues based on ignorance are dangerous because they create a prior disposition among the public who proceed to inform themselves with misinformation.
White racism has a long history in America of heartbreaking ghettoization, criminal rejection and exclusion, creating a Black underclass who are tired of seeing white people who jeer the tears of their hungry children killing them, too. Innocent people run from police because the search for convenient scapegoats continues and false accusations abound. Black children do not enter the world aware of race. It takes time, experience of having heartbreak spat upon, emotional crucifixion and soul-murder before a final understanding of the inhumanity of the oppressor sets in. It is hard to break contact with the humanity of the white other, so being forced to, being subject to white envy of Black virility, talent, beauty and humanity, results in the end in a frustrating rage, and riot of tears.
What happened in Baltimore is a reflection of this historic situation, caused by the daily grind of poverty, injustice and attending fear.
The dialogue offered by white liberals, who always preface their harrowing tirades with the carte blanche, I am not a racist, but…is disturbing for the degree to which it shows that Black people have to watch their backs among their supposed friends. People who presume the Black community hardened fail to understand that Black people in their concerns are much more thoughtful than white people generally understand or give them credit. Riots like these are considered acts. Civilization is a two-way street.
On a personal note, I have often rebelled against the turf wars being fought over victim status in minority culture. I know, as a permanently maimed victim of terrible sadism by the Ku Klux Klan in childhood, who targeted me over my father’s human rights activism, what sort of terror gives rise to the sentiment burn, baby burn. I have to say in closing to this opinion about the riots in Baltimore that the more I have learned about the tragedy of racism in America, the less I have regretted being wounded on the firing line. I live on the margins, deaf and suffering mental illness, but my heart has never carried the shame of leaving the movement, nor should yours.
Injury to innocent people cannot be allowed to stand unnoted. The riots in Baltimore arise as a consequence of oppression.