Baltimore: You Weren’t Paying Attention – Part 3
People riot within their own communities because they have arrived at a decision that they have nothing to lose. The people who talk about “jobs that are lost” are not paying attention.
The CVS was not mandated by the people of the community nor did they have any say in it. It’s just another symbol of the powerlessness the community has in its own self determination. The CVS was not a champion for the 5th and 14th amendment rights being denied by its patrons. The CVS was not a “net benefit” for this fight for recognition as American citizens. If we don’t have due process or are not equally protected under the law, the low paying jobs CVS offers are of little benefit. The War on Drugs, education, poverty, healthcare, housing and access to financing mean nothing if people are not recognized as citizens. This is what happened, and this is what this is about. We are guaranteed rights as citizens. These rights have not and are not recognized by the very people who are supposed to make sure that they don’t do the very thing they have been doing. There has been no accountability for police for decades. It has been acknowledged by families within the black community in Baltimore for generations because it has affected so many of our families.
For those of you who are scared, angry, frustrated, sad, or feeling unsafe? Welcome to what life is like for many in the black community in dealing with law enforcement. No one condones criminality nor violence, but blaming those who are frustrated that they don’t have the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution, effectively backs them into a corner as sub-citizens with no recourse. Frank White described it best (my words highlighted).
“You make me public enemy number one? Is that some kind of joke? I got a message for you and your friends. You tell them… anyone involved in this is everyone who stood idly by. Now we all get to know what it’s like…living without knowing when some asshole’s…gonna step outta the dark and violate your civil rights. I want you to know what it’s like to live that way.”
You weren’t paying attention. Now, in a cruelly perverse way, the uncertainty of the city’s future puts us all on a level playing field.