That was a moment when Baltimore was burning. It wasn't burning because people wanted free stuff. It was burning because people are tired and feeling hopeless. Not because people hate cops but because we live in a society that creates excuses for cops who do unspeakable evils.
It's much easier to condemn rioters than it is to actively try to understand the conditions that led them to riot.
When black people feel they need to stand for themselves and their families and shout "Black lives matter," we should stand and shout with them. Just because you can't fully understand it all the time, doesn't mean you can't understand pain and feeling hopeless.
Mainstream media reports would have you believe everyone and their grandmother were rioting. Why? Rioting is much sexier to cover and gets more viewers or readers than the peaceful protest of 10,000 people, or the residents who banded together to stop rioting in parts of the city, or the protesters actively organizing cleanup teams.
Never miss a local story.
Numerically, more white people are killed by police than any other ethnic group. Yet minorities are killed at higher rates than the percentage they make up of the entire population. Minorities and white people are treated quite differently by law enforcement. White people often fail to understand this because they don't attempt to, or can't even begin to think from the perspective of the other. All people are categorically bad at thinking outside of their particular worldviews, but being white means some of us are afforded the privilege of not having to worry about this.
For minorities, not worrying about how you are perceived because of your race, isn't an option. It's life or death.
So how come white people aren't rioting in the streets? White people are rioting and do it frequently, but it's usually over sporting events, not systematic state violence. All our public commentary would be completely different if people began rioting because the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
But hey, the Baltimore rioting was just over a man having his throat crushed, back broken and neck snapped — all while in police custody.
Baltimore has a long history of economic and social abuses brought down on ita inner city, mostly minority residents, which makes life hard enough to get by as is.
In the neighborhood of Freddie Gray, the man who died in police custody, nearly half of adults of working age are unemployed. On top of this, they've got an excessively brutal police force that appears to view citizens they are charged with protecting as enemy combatants.
The ACLU reported 109 people died after police encounters in Maryland from 2010 to 2014. Baltimore had the highest number, with 31. Statewide, nearly 70 percent were black and over 40 percent were unarmed.
In short, the structural realities of cities like Baltimore have generated powder kegs. Pressure has been building up in these communities and something had to give. All people, regardless of race, are being shot down by police in the street at staggering rates. Reports of police brutality are spreading quicker than ever and sow even more distrust. So why is it predominantly black people, mainly women, leading this fight that will save all of our lives?
It is high time we join the fight. To get active visit Stop Mass Incarceration Network KY on Facebook.