We’ve all seen the tragic events unfolding around the latest example of police brutality unfold in downtown Baltimore. We’ve watched in awe as a man died, riots broke out and the National Guard was called in. But now that the racially charged time bomb has finally been diffused, where are we looking? Evidently, not at Baltimore.
As bystanders, we were warned of this. The shakily shot cellphone video of a protester confronting Geraldo Rivera sums it up well, as the man tells Rivera and FOX News to get out of Baltimore. “Because you are not here reporting about the boarded up homes and the homeless people on the MLK. You’re not reporting about the poverty levels up and down North Avenue. Two years ago, when the 300 man march and we marched…you weren’t here” he explains as Rivera attempts to walk away from him, still smiling. In this protesters words, “I want the white media out of Baltimore City until you are here to report the real story.” And sadly enough, he’s right. The media wasn’t there to see the desperation that the people of Baltimore were facing. There was no background to the city’s long struggle with poverty and racism. Instead, we focus on the violence of a few who have finally had enough with the world turning a blind eye to their daily struggle to survive.
The world is slowly stirring from its long, ignorant slumber. The short term fascination with the riots and the violence in Baltimore has started to die down, but not everyone has forgotten. The people of Baltimore are still struggling, still grieving and still hurting from the wrongs of the intrinsically raciest culture that dominates the city. How many more shootings do there have to be? How many innocent, unarmed people must die before we take action? Fatal shootings are just a symptom of the problem; we cannot afford to leave the underlying issue untreated for much longer. The violent backlash in both Ferguson and Baltimore is a demonstration of the dire nature of the African-American community in both locations, a place in which daily life can become all to difficult. Yet collective consciousness pays no heed to these issues; issues of racism, poverty, substance abuse and more.
The problems plaguing communities like Baltimore is not a problem of race, instead it is a product of racism. Our general perception of African-American groups is what causes much of the marginalization and discrimination of black communities. The people themselves are not that different from the exponentially more accepted white America. There are just as many good, loving and hard working people across the racial divide. However, collective narration often turns against black communities, much like the reporting of Fox News in the midst of the Baltimore Riots, turning a frustrated and largely peaceful protest into a story solely focused on the violent rioters.
And now, as the events die down, the story has moved away from the world of Baltimore’s inner city, away from Ferguson’s struggle to create a just police force, away from Eric Garner’s New York and Treyvon Martin’s Miami.
The world had continued on, but there are those who do not forget.We must not forget. We cannot push this under the rug again. But this is not a solitary undertaking. There is not much we can do to change other’s actions, but we can do is refuse to sink back into docility surrounding the horrors of police brutality, especially when it’s targeted to racial minorities.
Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTcJwYVHi6w