Post originally on my blog: www.denimanddancing.wordpress.com
When I first saw news of the Baltimore uprising swarm my newsfeed, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach before I had even known what the root of these protests were.
Uh oh. The police have taken another one of our brothers and sisters from us, I guessed. I knew it had to be. I was right.
I cringed as I read the story of Freddie Gray, envisioning his fractured bones and severed vertebrae of his spinal cord and how painful that would be. The pain of injustice. The pain of being born into a life in which your culture is constantly disenfranchised and oppressed and then leaving life in consequence of this. His voice box was crushed too, a sickening irony to how we are too often silenced.
By now, you know the story. You’ve heard our cries. You know how they go. Unless you were under a rock the past year, the Ferguson protests should have taught you by now about #BlackLivesMatter. Not about how all lives matter, because we already know that. But as people of color, how our lives matter. Such a simple statement should be quite obvious, really. Funny isn’t it, how a notion that appears so uncomplicated and obvious in reality holds a complexity that people still cannot rap their minds around. So here we are. Still having to beat the drum to the fight for equality in a world where systemic racism has plagued the streets and can be seen in every city, every neighborhood and every statistic.
Baltimore is in midst of a revolution, one that has been occurring for a long time, boiling from the past years of countless incidents like Freddie’s murder. They pleaded peacefully first, but only now are voices being heard when things escalate to rioting. I guess property damage sells more than the damage of the black soul.
I don’t condone violence, but I really shouldn’t even need to use that as a disclaimer. Violence isn’t responding to these outcries of injustices through retaliation of police brutality, “causing a ruckus” to get our points across. Violence is manipulating the system to your advantage in your position of authority to end the life of someone on a total different social standing, denounced by their skin color and economic background. How easily we forget about context. And don’t even get me started on the double standards of rioting.
Yes it’s 2015, and we’re fed up. Don’t you dare tell us how to feel, how to react. Don’t minimize this occurrence with “Violence is not the answer” when you have no answer to bear. So what is the answer then? We’re waiting. We’ve been patiently waiting for a damn long time. And look how much good that has done.
By default they demonize us. All this negative exposure from the news of the Baltimore protests reminds me of this documentary I watched called Outfoxed. It’s about the ploys in Fox News coverage designed to embed its right wing ideals in its headlines and stories. And that’s exactly the kind of shit they’re pulling right now, when the world is hungry for resources to know what the hell is going on down there in Baltimore.
But Fox and many other news outlets are not resources; they have corporate agendas that work in capitalist favor. They thrive off of focusing on stories like that mom beating her son or that gang members “team up to kill police” instead of how they have come together despite their differences to protest the protection of our brothers and sisters. And then we’ll try speaking of our cause and the reporters aren’t listening. Do not be a victim to media hypnosis. Don’t let them make you a slave to their ulterior motives.
The best thing that has come out of this movement has been the doors that have been opened for discussion between all communities. The Internet can be terrible mosquito net for negativity, but it can also be an amazing place. There’s really no reason not to be informed with so many great platforms from activists, alternative news media and Baltimore citizens who are illustrating this current revolution through an untainted lens.
Here are some more links to check out:
Word is in: Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced that six police officers have been criminally charged for their inhumane actions in the case of Freddie Gray on April 12. Gray was illegally arrested and while rumors spread he had a switchblade on him, it was discovered that it was merely a legal pocketknife. He was handcuffed and shackled by his feet in the police wagon without being secured and was waived any medical assistance after multiple requests. He suffered a severe neck and spinal injury from not being seat belted and later died from his injuries. While not yet convicted, Officer Ceasar Goodson has received the highest charge of the officers: second degree murder, manslaughter, assault and misconduct in the office. I pray that these terrible individuals are rightfully indicted for their wrongful actions. I pray for the day criminal justice can be synonymous with social justice.
Leaving it off with a great in-prison interview of Angela Davis, 1972
“When you talk about a revolution, most people think violence, without realizing that the real content of any kind of revolutionary thrust lies in the principles and goals that you’re striving for- not in the way you reach them.“
– Angela Davis, 1972
Stay strong Baltimore.