“A riot is the language of the unheard,” a Collection of Articles and Perspectives, and Baltimore, 2015


What is happening:


  • Why Baltimore Is Burning And we were segregated, hard, by a local power structure that did not want the ghetto to be seen nor heard from, and certainly not to bring its struggles out in plain sight for the world to see.
  • Baltimore’s real, untelevised revolutionThe revolution will not be televised because consumers passively accept what the drama-seeking media dole out. I write to provide the whole picture: the peaceful, heartbroken, disgusted people of all backgrounds walking peacefully in Baltimore with the message that racial discrimination and police brutality will not be tolerated for another minute; black lives matter to all of us.
  • Obama On Baltimore: ‘This Is Not New’There’s no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building they’re committing arson, and they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunities from people in that area.
  • I am so grateful to Ta-Nehisi Coates for expressing so well the frustration I feel watching the media coverage of the protests in Baltimore. I believe in non-violence not just as a tactic, but as a way of life. Yet I cannot stomach the indignant condemnation of young people throwing stones and looting stores when those same indignant politicians and media pundits muster so little outrage for the daily, routine violence inflicted by law enforcement on poor communities of color, including the literal war – a drug war – that has been waged in Freddy Gray’s neighborhood for decades. I say yes to peaceful protests, but no to blatant hypocrisy.
    From Michelle Alexander
  • I’ve always thought I believed in non-violence, believed that “violence” is never the answer. It’s easy to believe that in the comfort of my apartment and office.Truth is, I’ve never been faced with a situation where I had to make that choice. Never had rage searing through my veins facing down someone who murdered my sister, my father, my friend. I’ve never had someone tell me – had my community or my country tell me – that I don’t matter, that my life is disposable. I’ve never had to watch as the media branded me (or people like me) “thugs,” and spent more hours reporting on broken windows, dented cars, and the contents of a Baltimore CVS than about the hundreds of black and brown people being killed each year and the millions who fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.I don’t know the answer. But I do know that violence against stuff (windows, cars) is NOT the same as violence against people. People matter more than stuff. It is not for us to “condone” or “not condone” the protests in Baltimore, it is for us to hear the cry of the enraged, the terrified, the downtrodden. It is for us to see that their hearts are broken, and that our hearts should be broken, too. It is for us to figure out – together – how to mend the lives that have been shattered, how to change unjust systems, and how to stop the very real violence which creates the kind of pain and rage we’re seeing around this country. Can we stand with people rather than plate-glass windows, please?
    From Sharon Anderson Damelio
  • Dear Black Baltimore,Don’t you get it? If you want to riot, it’s ACTUALLY OK! You just need to be drunk and celebrating the Ravens winning the Super Bowl!The corporation owned “news” medias don’t want any of this silly soberness demanding equality and an end to police violence! And 10,000 people non-violent protesting? Don’t be so ridiculous.Oh… and white – you need to be white. Almost forgot.
    This sarcastic view from Mark Sandlin
  • This is why I have such a problem with these riots in Baltimore and why I am criticizing them. Imagine if you will that you are out and about and a group of people for no rhyme or reason, beat the shit out of you.Well instead of finding a way to strike back against those who lit you up what do you do? You go home and vent your anger by kicking you dog, beating the crap out of your spouse & kids, and setting fire to your own house.Well that is exactly what is happening in Baltimore now and why these violent acts should be condemned because the people who created these conditions are not really being hurt by any of them; it is the very people who being similarly oppressed and that doesn’t make any sense nor can it be justified for any rhyme or reason.
    From Eric Smith
  • My heart aches for the City of Baltimore, which saw riots following the funeral of 25-year old Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody due to severe spinal cord injuries. As a Buddhist and a follower of the teachings of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I both understand, but cannot condone, the violence that has erupted. I have no easy answers for either those enraged by the continued racial injustice, or those appalled by the violent rioting and looting the whole world is seeing.Many say there can be no peace without justice, but so, too, can there be no true justice without peace. The riots must end before any progress can be made; progress must be made so that riots have their end.What none of us should do is remain silent or indifferent. Tonight and in the coming days, hold your children, your families, your loved ones. Talk to them, and your friends and co-workers, about your feelings and theirs, and understand the passions that underlay them. All of us in our own way care deeply about both the symptoms and the manifestations of this disease that plagues our nation and indeed the world. To recognize this shared desire for both justice and peace is the first step towards both.
    From George Takei
  • It’s so easy to talk about these misguided kids in Baltimore (better known to most of you as thugs and lazy n*****s), but if you are one of the ones that has never tried to become a part of the solution to this problem, ie:
    – becoming a mentor
    – attending school board meetings 
    – advocate for legislative change
    – taken in a child
    – sacrificed your time for our children
    – given freely of your finances
    – volunteered at school
    – offered solutions
    – acted on the offer of your solution 
    – raised your own kids
    – have a reputation for service to your community 
    – or have a reputation that backs your posts on FB….If you don’t fall into at least ONE of these catagories,
    THEN SHUT THE HELL UP!!! – oh, posting on Facebook doesn’t count as “action…”Excuse my language – just a little fed up with the bs coming across my time line….
    From Robert Williams 

Be sure and regularly check Jay Smooth, Ta-Nehisis Coates, Tim Wise, and Michelle Alexander.