What I’m Reading About the Baltimore Riots

Several months ago, Michael Brown and Eric Garner died during encounters with police. The horrific nature of their deaths, and the fact that they represent just two of the many black men who experience discrimination and violence at the hands of law enforcement, spawned uprisings in Ferguson and elsewhere. At the time I wrote a post about choosing to listen to this important conversation.

That conversation is on-going and I’m still choosing to do more listening than speaking when I can help it. Although discussion never really died down, it was brought to the forefront of consciousness once again when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries in policy custody in Baltimore. Once again, I hope that my relative silence on social media and this blog with respect to this conversation and these events is not interpreted as indifference. Rather, it is a recognition that there are far more authentic and expert voices out there that I’m listening to.

Having said that, I couldn’t help but tweet this on Monday which is, at least for now, all I really have to say:

Instead of leaving it there, however, I thought I’d share some links to the best stuff I’ve been reading online about the Baltimore riots. Check it out the non-exhaustive list below.

11 Stunning Images Highlight the Double Standard of Reactions to Riots Like Baltimore
Interesting how the Baltimore residents fighting against discrimination and violence are labeled “thugs” but the (predominantly white) people who riot after winning/losing a sporting event are….what exactly? Many have made this point but Mic’s use of images really drive it home.

29 Moments That Show Another Side Of The Baltimore Riots
Buzzfeed is full of ridiculousness – time-wasting quizzes and inane but addicting commentary on random bits of pop culture (that I read faithfully) – but every once in awhile it does some more serious journalism that is usually quite good. The photos curated above are an example of this.

Hillary Clinton Laments ‘Missing’ Black Men as Politicians Reflect on Baltimore Unrest
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton offered remarks on the Baltimore riots in which she called for an end to the mass incarceration of black men. Sure, she may be pandering to voters but the fact that she made explicit mention to racial fissures and a broken justice system is significant. Especially considering this is the first substantial policy statement she has made since launching her campaign.

The problem with wanting ‘peace’ in Baltimore
One of the most frustrating reactions to the Baltimore riots has been the invocation of Martin Luther King, Jr. to condemn the protesters. This Waging Nonviolence blog post does an excellent job of tearing that critique down. Even better, it’s written by a Kingian Nonviolence trainer.

Nonviolence as Compliance
n a similar vein, Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a compelling and eloquent explanation of the problem with calling for non-violence in the midst of systemic violence. As usual, Coates is on point.