Baltimore Is a Wreck, but Yes, We Are Okay
I thank everyone for your thoughts and concerns. Please think of my students, many of whom do live in the areas affected (and many of whom will get themselves embroiled with the chaos).
We were supposed to have a field day today, but that has been canceled due to the potential violence at Security.
Huffington Post has a good article summarizing everything so far. Some of the pictures are staggering. I am bitterly disappointed that yet again an opportunity for peaceful protest and constructive dialogue has been hijacked by a spectacle of violence and chaos, but the picture of the woman "looting" a CVS for diapers? Does kind of say it all.
The short version: a young African American man, Freddie Gray, died in Baltimore City Police custody after suffering a broken spine and trachea. His family pleaded for peace, and there were peaceful protests this weekend, but you know that if any city was going to turn up, it would be Baltimore. As I said, I am disappointed that the chance to turn attention and possibly inspire change on the very real problem of racial bias and brutality among U.S. police departments (and the BCPD is a very well known offender) will instead turn into gawking once again at the chaos. I've been talking to my students about what is going on; I can assure you that what motivates what is going on in Baltimore as I write this is not rage at injustice or a desire for change. As one student told me this morning, watching the riots on TV last night, he thought it "looked fun." I've been trying to talk with them to help them see the social justice issues that are at the heart of this--and we read MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" earlier this year and they went to see Selma, so they have that background--and maybe consider how doing things just because they "look fun" might hijack that movement for justice and end up providing the means for injustice to be further perpetuated. But, as I told a friend this morning, it is like trying to talk down a tsunami.
It was illustrative when I went on Slate last night, and almost every article at the top of the page was about Baltimore, and most of the titles had the tone of "We knew Baltimore was bad but damn."
It is a sad time for a lot of reasons, and my feelings are extremely complicated right now.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!