4.28.2015 —– I’ve seen a lot of people on my timeline posing comments about Baltimore; both in support and against the riots, protests, and the community reaction to the death of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray died from a spinal cord injury while in in police custody. He was in custody for possession of a switchblade which was found when he ran from a police officer who made eye contact with him on the street.
A side note on the Baltimore Police department; they’ve settled over 100 cases in the past four years on police related violence and civil rights violations i.e like many police departments in this nation, they have a history of brutality. (In a city that is 30% white, the police department is close to 46% white.)
Please understand that this is and isn’t about Freddie Gray. It’s about the new black life that is victim to police violence every 28 hours. It’s about mothers burying black bodies simply because their son/daughter’s existence marked a perceived “threat” on a cop.The Baltimore protests are timely and necessary, reactionary to the complex history of black criminalization interwoven into the fabric of Black American existence and tangential to institutional biases that keep Blacks in a state of civic inequity.
As James Baldwin says best “To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” And that’s what I and most of Black america are: enraged. And rage with no justice is the perfect environment for civic unrest. Black rage will be continuously delegitimized, particularly by mainstream media, to the point where we as a populous are forced to question the reaction to oppression rather than the tactics of oppression itself, police terror, torture and murder included. Preaching non-violence in the face of a brutal system is unfounded. Black anger will always incite discomfort, particularly in the white moderate, because it asserts that racism is more than an instance of bigotry. Racism is connected at all institutional levels. In America no one is playing the “race card” or making something a “race issue” when this country itself is built on the foundation of racial inequity, with black plunder at the cost of white supremacy at the heart of it. America is the race issue. Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, did not happen in a bubble and you are damned if you believe so.
Revolution is never convenient, quiet, or comfortable.