Special Report: Baltimore is burning…again?
Now that you have some starter music, let’s do this.
So outside of the people who only associate the city with The Wire, most folks act as though it is just another place on the east coast. But this city has a long history of being a powderkeg. So first up we had the 1968 riots. Now obviously this was one of many riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. Across the country these riots were not only responses to the assassination, they were also the boiling over of animous between the black community and the city which like now seems to be unable to care about the people who comprise the city. But let’s take the wayback machine even farther back. Because rioting in Baltimore isn’t just a black thing.
In 1812 America once again goes to war. During it Baltimore is a major flashpoint. Many members of the Democratic-Republican Party viewed opposition as treasonous or near-treasonous once war was declared. The Washington National Intelligencer wrote that, “WAR IS DECLARED, and every patriot heart must unite in its support… or die without due cause.” The Augusta Chronicle wrote that, “he who is not for us is against us.”
This sentiment was especially strong in Baltimore, at the time a boomtown with a large population of recent French, Irish, and German immigrants who especially hated Britain. In early 1812, several riots took place, centering around the anti-war Federalist newspaper the Federal Republican. Its offices were destroyed by a mob. Local and city officials, all war hawks, expressed disapproval of the violence, but did little to stop it. When the editors of Federal Republican tried to return, they were removed from protective custody in a jail by a mob, on the night of July 27, and tortured; one Revolutionary War veteran, James Lingan, died of his injuries. Opponents of the war then largely ceased to openly express their opposition in Baltimore.
The Baltimore riots were the height of violent backlash during the war, whose popularity dropped through 1813 and 1814. However, after the war, when the Hartford Convention’s proceedings became public just after a peace treaty was signed with Britain, there was a longer-term backlash against the Federalist Party, which became associated with secession and treason. The party never regained national predominance, fielding its last Presidential candidate in 1816 and fading away entirely by the end of the 1820s.(source: Wikipedia)
Reality being what it is, Baltimore has more parts to play in history. That dangerous, disgusting, dark, they don’t like to see me bring it up history. Because in 1861 Baltimore is once again the setting for a riot, this time because the slavery loving, southern supporter, TRAITORS, who’s offspring would later take up there flag like the cowardly, yellow bellied, traitorious worthless piles of pig excrement they are, got mad about being drug into the war and rioted. It produced the first deaths by hostile action in the American Civil War. Check out the Baltimore Riot of 1861.
But we can move far ahead to just the last 3 years. Why? Because Baltimore, like Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Miami, NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Memphis, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and tons of small towns around the nation, is full of people having to sue the police department because they or a now dead relative was severely injuried or murdered at the hands of police officers. Baltimore itself came into 2014 with 5.7 million dollars in police brutality settlements and judgments to the very citizens that the police are supposed to serve and protect. You can read more HERE!
So this piece has done the history bit, and some more music to help me transition to the next part of today’s special appearance. Let’s get into it. There is something to be said for the song above’s point. Same with the riots lately. Similar to when I previously spoke on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri this is beyond an issue of what, and about why? Why is this the only way to get society at large to pay attention to issues in various communities? Why is this the face most commonly shown? Why is the coverage of riots different depending on what they are for? Why is that difference so counter-intuitive? Why aren’t these so called pro black leaders out there giving actual solutions and helping make it less and less necessary for the violent outbursts that accompany these issues?
I know you caught that last bit. It was a shot on purpose. One thing I do on a semi-daily schedule is check out the people who claim to be super pro black, super pro working class, and of course defenders of all those considered minority and/or downtrodden. I also mean those sitting in ivory towers and penthouse suites. Because all of the social and political leadership is woefully deficient. You might notice your major hotep spouting pro black friends saying these are the best ways to get things done. I assure you as I always have, these people are stupid. They don’t see that perception is something to be countered at the same time as these more, insurrection like methods are used. For every time they shout to go ahead and burn it down, they just add one more person who might otherwise have reasonably agreed with the need for change to the camp of people calling folks animals and thugs on television.
You might also notice the more famous your friends, or all of the celebrities you talk to telling folks to calm down, and that these riots mean nothing positive. One of those people of course being Ray Lewis for some reason.
Am I the kind of person would doesn’t see the point Ray is trying to make? No. But I am the guy who sees the parts of his point that are wrong. What have I said over and over again? That you can’t just riot, you can’t just protest, that you have to do more than the people who came before you did. Why do I keep saying that? Because, and let’s get real for a moment I’m just talking about Black people, time has not been invested in taking the approach to things the other communities of color, and causes in America have.
The reason the Jewish community can send lawyers and community leaders at anti-semetic issues is because they put the equity in using those voices to speak for their community. The reason gays are able to get companies smeared by media outlets is because they put the equity into taking aim through courts and wallets speaking for them after they infiltrated all parts of corporate culture. The reason women have an easier time taking out sexists than black people do racists is the exact same thing. So now that we are in this place you have to be twice as smart about things. A line which I’m sure you heard from your parents and other older family and friends as a child. What do I mean? I mean we need celebrities who can talk like this.
Now most folks when they listen to this audio, attach to the end of the Tupac’s metaphorical discussion of Black America using a room with food in front of hungry people. What the deeper student should catch is that Tupac doesn’t say actually do the violence being said in the lyrics he comes up with contemporaneously. Why? Certainly the man who made yelling “Thuglife” popular had no problem being controversial. But he takes a moment and stop short of saying go break into everyone’s houses in order to say something profound. “What do you think someone is going to do? Ask?” puts a warning into the heart of the listener. What you should be fearing is not us coming to the door, but what ideas we’ve come up with for dealing with you. After all, you either are going to come out, or we are going to come in.
And you need that voice. You need a person striking fear intellectually into the those who are sitting in power. But one thing you never see footage of Tupac doing, is taking shots at the black leaders who are alive at the time. He is almost reverent about them and the sacrifices they have made. Why? Because he recognizes that you need those leaders who are still alive and available to be fighting the same war on a different front. One thing that often annoys me about those who have post-humously sainted Tupac is that they see him as who should have been leading all of Black America in the 90’s.
But what they miss is he realized he wasn’t built for it. So what did he do instead? He focused on the lane he could handle. Same here. Protestors, rioters, politicians, celebrities, and the average everyday person have their part to play. But it does no one, NO ONE, any good if all the voices out there don’t have a plan, and are focused on shouting down the other ones. Now I’ve gone very long today, but not odd at all I could gone on longer. This issue is just that complex. It is just…well…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE! Be safe out there in Baltimore and everywhere else.