Baltimore Doesn’t Need You, Your Own City Does
Why are people talking about going to Baltimore? I’m guessing the same people went to Ferguson and my response is the same: make change where you are. Don’t hop onto someone else’s ship that they have suffered to maintain. There is more than enough work to do in your city and every where else. Help people in your own community build ships that can sail towards opportunity. Start making change BEFORE the powder keg blows in your town. Do you go to the hoods in your own city and stand with those cats that are just as desperate and just as neglected as those in Baltimore? If you do, good. If you don’t, build in your own town before jumping in the media spotlight. And if you are building, keep building.
I support what many of the people are doing in Baltimore as protests. Contrary to media coverage, there are many ways people are showing their displeasure based on their experiences. The most resource neglected areas are typically where riot/rebellion as expression is a last resort, yet realistic option. For others, peaceful protest is a preferred method. That’s where you will see most people that are protesting the murder of another unarmed person at the hands of police. The genuine rioters are protesting much more than the killing of a man: they are protesting decades of neglect and disregard at the hands of local, state, and federal government.
There is a popular video going around that I re-posted on FB of a mother “beating” her teenage son for being at a protest and throwing rocks. While I did think it was amusing, I think many people thought it was funny for the wrong reason. Most people see a mother angry at her son for throwing rocks at a protest and going upside his head on local television. Next day at school was undoubtedly a little rough. However, I see a parent that cares immensely for her son and does not want him to get caught up in the moment of rioting and have something happen that costs him his freedom or his life. This again reaches to the appropriateness of the type of protest that each of us engages in. While I don’t know specifically, my guess is that his momma “works too hard” for him to be “out in the streets like that” and that she didn’t raise him that way. Par for the course on tough love discipline from black mothers which I know very well. My guess is she would not have been (as) unhappy with him if he was at a peaceful protest that was a reflection of what she has worked to provide for him. My mom has told me that the only times I got spankings when I was young was when I put myself in danger by disobeying, not listening, etc. I seem to remember a few extra in there for various reasons over the years but maybe my memory is playing tricks on me…
As individuals we should all be constantly reviewing our place and privilege in the world that we live in. All of us operate with some level of privilege and it’s important to know where you are and how your actions and responsibilities fit into the greater scheme of things. If you have the time and money to go to Baltimore then you are probably privileged and can do better helping where you are at. And if you went to Baltimore, what would you do? Is that how your resources could be best used, or is it simply an opportunity for you to be where the action is at? We tend to be creatures of convenience, which is fine. Just know your position and play it to the best of your ability.