Baltimore Is Not Ferguson; Freddie Gray Is Not Michael Brown » VSB

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Baltimore Is Not Ferguson; Freddie Gray Is Not Michael Brown

It is not difficult to witness what’s happening in Baltimore, Maryland right now and immediately think of Ferguson, Missouri. Or New York City. Or Cleveland, Ohio. Or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Or perhaps even Los Angeles in 1992. The parallels are obvious; heartbreakingly, evisceratingly, surreally obvious. So obvious are these similarities that it does not take much effort to congeal each of these circumstances. Because much of what is happening in Baltimore right now just happened in Milwaukee. And much of what happened in Milwaukee just happened in Ferguson.

So instead of devising new solutions, crafting new prayers, feeling new sorrows, tempering new rage, and cultivating new ways to process this all and do something other than stare at your TV screen in shock, just repeating what you’ve already done — word for word; feeling for feeling — feels natural. Practical, even. It would be prudent to just write the exact same piece you did eight months ago, with “Baltimore” in place of “Staten Island.” Wise to give the same speech you did two years ago, but with “Maryland” substituted for “Florida.” Reasonable to cry the exact same tears you did for Rekia Boyd’s family, but Freddie Gray’s instead.

And it would be the worst thing you can do.

Because Freddie Gray wasn’t Eric Garner. And Eric Garner wasn’t Rekia Boyd. And Rekia Boyd wasn’t John Crawford III. And John Crawford III wasn’t Michael Brown. And Michael Brown wasn’t Eric Harris. And Eric Harris wasn’t Walter Scott. And Walter Scott wasn’t Laquan McDonald. And Laquan McDonald wasn’t Lavall Hall. And Lavall Hall wasn’t Jason Harrison. And Jason Harrison wasn’t Brandon Jones. And Brandon Jones wasn’t Ernest Satterwhite. And Ernest Satterwhite wasn’t Anthony Hall. And Anthony Hill wasn’t Tony Robinson. And Tony Robinson wasn’t Tamir Rice. And Tamir Rice wasn’t Tanisha Anderson. And Tanisha Anderson wasn’t James Howard Allen. And James Howard Allen wasn’t Akai Gurley. And Akai Gurley wasn’t Ezell Ford. And Ezell Ford wasn’t Rumain Brisbon. And Rumain Brisbon wasn’t Darrien Hunt. And Darrien Hunt wasn’t VonDerritt Myers Jr. And VonDerritt Myers Jr wasn’t Aiyana Stanley-Jones. And Aiyana Stanley-Jones wasn’t Luis Rodriguez. And Luis Rodriguez wasn’t Ramarley Graham. And Ramarley Graham wasn’t Jonathan Ferrell. And Jonathan Ferrell wasn’t Jack Lamar Roberson. And Jack Lamar Roberson wasn’t Kimani Gray. And Kimani Gray wasn’t Anna Brown. And Anna Brown wasn’t Oscar Grant. And Oscar Grant wasn’t Trayvon Martin.

Each of these people were people. Loving, reckless, optimistic, sincere, manipulative, sensitive, funny, lazy, talented, weak, introverted, ambitious and every other uniquely human quality existing in each of us. They did not exist to become a narrative. Or perhaps a lede to a story. Or maybe even a policy change. They existed to exist. Not to not exist. Not to be written with a dry erase marker and erased with a closed fist when a new name, a new cause, appears. Perhaps we made them into means, but they existed as ends.

Because Darrien Hunt — who was shot four times in the back — had just turned 22. He was into anime cosplay. His mother’s name is Susan. Rekia Boyd, also 22 when shot in the back of the head by Chicago detective Dante Servin, had eight brothers and seven sisters and was known for being “light-hearted.” Ernest Satterwhite, the 68-year-old great-grandfather shot to death after a slow-speed chase as he parked in his own driveway, was a former mechanic. 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson, who battled schizophrenia before dying facedown while an officer’s knee was in her back, graduated from East High School in Cleveland.

These are minor details of these people’s lives. But minor doesn’t mean insignificant. They are part of the collection of characteristics and traits distinguishing us from each other. Our humanity exists in this minutiae. And this is what we — the people currently feeling anything about what’s happening in Baltimore — need to remember. And if remembering doesn’t work, make notes to remind ourselves to remind ourselves. Freddie Gray and Michael Brown may have died under similar circumstances. And the images and videos and stories coming out of Baltimore this week might be similar to those that came out of Ferguson last summer. But Freddie Gray is not Michael Brown. He was a human being who lived and loved and died uniquely, and this uniqueness must extend to how we mourn and remember and write about and pray for and march for him.

So cry new tears. Write new words. Craft new prayers. Attend new marches. Channel new anger. Feel it all again. Every bit of it. All the empathy, all the sorrow, all the rage. Don’t fight it. Let it permeate you. Embrace its engulf. Because Freddie Gray deserves it. Baltimore deserves it. You deserve it. Do not allow them to desensitize you to the uniqueness and preciousness of our lives, to the beauty of being alive, and do not permit them to rob you of the agony of them being snatched away. 

And when it happens again — and it will happen again — when another police-involved killing of an unarmed person of color turns a city upside down, do it all again. 

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Val

    I’m just so sick of the mainstream media at this point that I’m getting most, if not all, of my info about what’s going in Baltimore through tumblr and twitter. I’m so sick of their media calling attention to looting, etc.

    So what if people are looting. So what if police cars are being destroyed. So what if buildings are being set on fire. None of that matters in comparison to Black folks being routinely
    murdered by the agents of the State.

    I have believed for a very long time that strategic violence will make the powers that be act to
    stop the police. If the mechanisms of capitalism are shutdown by us then change will happen. When you mess with White America’s money that’s when they will listen. Trying to appeal to their humanity is pointless. They don’t care unless they are being affected.

    So, burn it. Block freeways during morning rush hour. Burn down businesses in White neighborhoods. Block people from being able to get to the airport. Shut down public transit to D.C. Shut it down, stop the flow of money and change will come.

    Great post, Champ.

    • Tentpole

      So Val, it is ok to burn the CVS where our people worked and are now out of a job. It’s ok to burn down the senior housing center were black seniors lived and are now homeless. You can never hurt Whites. They are at least 200 million strong to our 45 million. Everytime we do a Rodney King response, all we do is burn down our own neighborhoods and make it easy for whites reclaim them after we are forced to move out because we don’t have the resources to rebuild them. The last time Pennsylvania and North ave was on fire was 1968. Before the CVS there was a movie theater. I had fond memories of the MET as it was called then. While you at it, you can tell me when did we EVER burn down a white neighborhood?

      • Epsilonicus

        Saturday was all white neighborhoods

        Secondly, we dont own any of those businesses so…

        • Tentpole

          Yeah, but those who work there do depend on the paycheck

        • Sigma_Since 93

          I agree that the neighborhood needs a better mix of businesses and a small business incubator so the community feels that a business is theirs vs some corporation coming in to prey upon them.

      • Val

        Did you read what I wrote? I said strategic violence. I said burn their neighborhoods. I said stop their money from flowing. If you aren’t going to read my comment then why reply to it?

        • Tentpole

          Yes I did Val and yesterday I witnessed the translation of that idea from people who think that burning a white owned business in a black neighborhood is the same thing because that is all they know.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Channeling my inner Wire and following the money, we should know that very few White business are going to put the “Queen” in the hood and jeopardize the main source of income going up in smoke.

            If you (we) want to be strategic, we need to follow the money better, the CVS and the check cashing joint are pawns in the bigger picture.

            • Val

              My point exactly.

            • Question

              So you’re saying targeting the CVS was a strategic move with far-reaching implications?

              I disagree…but I’m open to another perspective.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                No it was not Strategic. An example of a strategic action was the boycotting of the Buses, Brown vs The Board of Education, The case study where male executives at airline companies were made to walk the “gauntlet”. All of these examples brought the other party to the table and created lasting change.

                The CVS burning is an extanality / opportunity; extranality of the rage of the community that now adversely impacts residents who may be required to travel further for healthcare / screenings. An opportunity for CVS not to come back or for an entrepreneur to create a mom and pop pharmacy.

                • Question

                  I get what you’re saying in theory – in reality, this is pipe dream type stuff. Of all the non-black businesses in the community to target, CVS is a poor choice because it served a purpose in the community that is difficult for independents to replicate at similar rates.

                  In 2015 you don’t create a Black Wall Street by happenstance – it requires forethought and planning – neither of which I see, but I’ll also admit, just because I don’t see it doesn’t mean its not there.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    of course. I don’t think the people were waiting for another death to spring the strategic plan. The time to plan is sitting in on the developer’s meetings and making demands that are embedded in the contract or go the small busineess route.

                    • Question

                      …and this is where I think we’re more fantasy than reality. How many folks in that community are equipped to go the small business route? And how many of us NOT in the community who are equipped to go the small business route are actively taking steps to do so…?

                      If the answer to both of those questions is “none” or “few”, than does burning down CVS make sense? No.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      I missed this yesterday. Sticks and carrots my friend. The community college can have a business incubator which would get folks ready, vocational students at the high schools and community college can work on projects in the community for credit. There are multiple ways to do this but it takes a commitment of resources.

                    • Question

                      …and that’s what I’m asking – are we organizing to collect the commitment of resources and putting together a plan to put the resources you mention in place? Or are we still playing in a field of dreams that is disconnected from the realities…?

                      I dunno – maybe I’m too business minded but I’m wondering where is the plan. Where is the action plan that details the resources we need, that people can access and say “yo, I have that skill – let me contribute so that we can move one step closer to xyz reality”?

                      You just rattled off some great ideas – who is exploring those ideas to see which ones are realistically viable and putting together the action plan to go from where we are to where we could be??

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      From my experience this is happening in pockets but the team that can get their vision together first has the competitive advantage. Some of these activities have been done be developers, non profits, faith based, or Fraternal groups.

                      These groups are beginning to look at their internal resources and looking to bring in talent where they need to. I look at my church that’s looking at grant money to fund some after school activities and discovered there was a person who wrote grants as a part of her job. Resource need filled.

                    • nekulturny

                      This whole talk of demands. Isn’t the very thing that drives you to insane counterproductive rage, any hint or sign of a demand being made of you? So why will others respond to your demands? Why aren’t they “requests” or “things you need?” I’m pretty sure you respond to a demand with “fuck you” so why are you surprised when it works the other way?

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      You can wordsmith it any way you want. The bottom line is the expectation of results.

                    • nekulturny

                      The whole thing that’s gutting you is the supremacy of your emotions. And the expectations, again, run both ways. What positive can you contribute? Not rioting isn’t a positive, it’s the absence of a negative.

                      Y’all are fighting and dying over disses and respect. Give it to get it.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Supremacy of emotions???? what?????

                      What I’m talking about is pure economics / utility maximization. Both parties are looking to enter into a mutually beneficial end game. One party is leveraging a Strategic advantage to get the other party to the bargaining table (sanctions, sit-in, protests, boycotts, etc.) In order to utilize the tactic successfully, you must know the lay of the land first. History provides multiple examples of this tactic successfully being used.

                      I’m not dying over a diss or getting in my feelings over alleged disrespect. I can see the forest from the trees.

                    • LMNOP

                      Usually these people who show up for a day being racist just make me mad, but I’m pretty amused by this guy telling you you’re all up in your feelings. Really sigma, get off your fancy phone and start being logical.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      I’ll try. Can I count on you for support if I fail to corral my emotions or to show me how to use my fancy phone???

                  • nekulturny

                    And BTW this stuff is hard. There’s a reason why mom and pops are on the back foot. Megacorps are more efficient. Is it better if a black owner takes the profit, and all the black customers pay more? Price, quality, variety, service. Can a BOB do better than CVS? By all means, prove it.

                    • Question

                      And that’s why I ask the question.

                      I think the knee-jerk black-fist-in-the-air response is “burn that isht down, we’ll build our own”. I’m asking, “really, are we really going to build our own” or is that just strong armed rhetoric with no real action plan and follow through? In reality, if there is no follow through, then what you’ve just done is taken access to medically necessary drugs, low cost/free health screenings and access to household necessities OUT of our community and replaced it with nothing.

          • Val

            You do not respond to what I wrote. You have a script in your head and you get it out no matter what the conversation is. So what’s the point. Just make your own comment and leave it at that.

      • I see where you’re coming from: Rage ? Reason.

        The fact is that actual power is never easily accessible, it’s covered by layer upon layer. You have to actually dig deep and understand the operation of the system, before you actually arrive at a person or group of people who can actually change things. And usually, you simply being aware of them and threatening to expose them is more than enough to get things moving in your favor.

        But for the record if you’re going to go after companies, these are the ones you should be going after:

      • PhlyyPhree

        That wasn’t OUR CVS.
        We didn’t build that CVS. We didn’t OWN that CVS. We might have worked for minimum wage at that CVS and that’s about it.
        And more importantly, there was insurance on that CVS. They can replace those windows, those doors and that merchandise. Can you replace ANYONE that we’ve lost?
        I’ll wait…

        • I don’t like this kind of arguing…honestly.

          One of the things that happened in Ferguson that I didn’t like was that there were black businesses that did get looted, the black business owners who were lucky, often had their businesses being protected by gang members. Of course, it was only Fox News that covered it, but if you went out of your way to confirm what they were saying, you’d realize it was true. Last night, a black owned business dedicated to caring for mostly elderly people was burnt down as well. Sheer hatred is never good strategy.

          The thing about mobs is they don’t behave rationally or strategically, the motivation is mostly chaos and destruction, not something substantive: the emotion behind rage may be justified, but the actions that come out of it rarely are. So to me the whole idea of “we didn’t build it” or “we don’t own it” is simply a rationalization, even if it we did own it, it’s not like it would change things, and in most cases you’d have to be acting with a purpose in mind, to be distracted enough to know the difference.

          • h.h.h.

            i believe last night a building burned that was supposed to be affordable housing for seniors in the community…90% done…was burned…smh

            • Epsilonicus

              They dont know if that was arson or construction fire. It is still unclear.

            • Oh yeh it was housing not a business…my bad.

              But that’s my point tho, no one really benefits from nihilism…I get irritated when smart people who are pro-black defend it, at least those who are engaging in it, often are upfront and say they don’t give a f$^k.

              It’s the job of the leaders and people who have the ability to strategize to give them a cause and purpose to give a f$^k about, but they rarely ever do. People were willing to do the same kind of things in the 60’s, but they had people like MLK and Malcolm to redirect that energy and rage into productive endeavors.

              We don’t have that today unfortunately.

              • Epsilonicus

                I don’t believe people are “ok” with it. People recognize where the anger is coming from and also recognize the way to prevent it is for change to happen, not just criticize people in the streets rampaging.

                • Val

                  When the mayor said she was going to use video of protestors/ rioters to hold them accountable and meanwhile the police that murdered Freddie Gray are on paid vacation I wanted to throw something at the TV.

                  • Epsilonicus

                    I also hate when folks say all this takes away from the important narrative. The important narrative is already being ignored. Duhhhhhh. Thats why all this is happening.

                • Anger is different than rage.

                  When people are angry they don’t abandon reason, when people are enraged they do. I’m not saying it’s their fault per sey, I’m criticizing the people who should be leading them and helping them transform that rage into something productive…because society isn’t. Society never changes on it’s own accord, by nature, society is conservative…it’s when those who are enraged and are guided to transform their intensity into productive activities and building up new things that society changes. They have the energy and the fearlessness to take the risk to change society, the old, as in those in office don’t have it, but they do have the wisdom to guide those who do.

                  • nekulturny

                    Why don’t you get with society. Adjust to society. In different cities the slang differs but in NY we call decent hardworking people who play by the rules and don’t spend their lives taking and being angry that it isn’t enough, citizens. Be citizens. Not skells.

                    The people who you should be burning out are those who are miseducating your children so that they are useless to the modern world. That is who is murdering you. Sadly a large portion of that blame accrues to negligent parents and indeed to the kids themselves.

                    • Lol

                      The basis of your argument is not experience but media narrative…which makes a conversation with you useless, because you don’t have the reference point to be open to a different point of view.
                      http://i60.tinypic.com/ajpidg.jpg

                    • nekulturny

                      White punks do it too is simply not an argument. Please believe that I would machine gun them just exactly as fast as I would you. That doesn’t help or affect YOU one bit. Doesn’t make your kids one drop smarter, better educated, better adjusted, more valuable to themselves, to others, or to society, or less likely to resort to crime and violence.

                    • You’re missing the point.

                      Yes, it is true those guys are punks and I was pretty sure that was going to be your response, but you do not assume that most white people are punks, because of two reasons: a. you know white people or b. you aren’t fed images of white people doing things like this on a consistent basis. You’re making these assumptions on a blog whose audience is mostly middle class, self-admittedly bourgeois and your comment is “Why don’t you adjust to society!” LMAO.

                      Spending less than 5 – 10 mins on this blog shows that you’re mostly commenting on a blog filled with well educated, smart people…yeh you may fiercely disagree with their opinions, politically, especially on this issue of looting and protests (just like conservatives and liberals that are white do daily – but you don’t make the same assumptions), but at the very least, you can see it. But you don’t see it, because your argument is not based on what is directly staring you right in the face. I’d be offended, but your belief that you are somehow trying to help me or others with your advice on this blog makes me laugh.

                    • nekulturny

                      What did I say that makes you think I think most black people are punks? As for whites, any review of European history will reveal individual and mass punking within and across tribes. but at thusbpoint we seem to have out shit largely handled. we have achieved escape velocity, Russia aside. We’ve come so far that now we’re throwing it all away.

                      If your objection is that I’m saying “y’all” and not “you, you and you, but not you and you” then I dunno, too much work. I’m typing this on a phone with one thumb. please expect and tolerate some compression. I presume you are all part of a community and do not hold yourselves aloof from it. I’m sure this group of talented tenths would scorn to steal flatscreens or toilet paper.

                      I agree that I don’t have any solutions to offer. nothing I think is tolerable, will work, or is tolerable and will work. I suspect that “you” don’t either. I don’t think “you” need my help, or any help. I’m sure you here can hack-have jobs, families, own your shit, etc. So why are we here? because certain of your brethren, our brethren if I were to get all warm hearted, cannot hack.

            • Question

              …and it was a community center.

          • Asiyah

            Your last paragraph: excellent.

        • Amber

          The unfortunate thing is that they probably won’t replace that cvs now they have an excuse to not have a location in that nrighborhood. If they do replace it they’ll raise the prices to cover the cost to rebuild. The unfortunate thing about destroying businesses like cvs which provides real services to a community is that in certain neighborhoods they won’t be replaced because the liability is too high. Now it would be great if a black owned pharmacy would be able to locate in that but then that is more complicated. The issue of destroying thing in a neighborhood that is already struggling is very problematic and complicated when you look at the future of economic development. I honestly struggle with the outcome of this type of expression of anger because I understand the rage and anger and know that many times you can’t logically direct it in a heated moment but I wish we were more strategic in our expression of anger.

        • Question

          We’ve lost credibility when we talk about the lack of businesses and credible opportunities in our communities. Said differently, its easy (and difficult to argue) to point to the destruction of the businesses we don’t own and who pay us minimum wage and say “but what about this…” when we say that our communities stagnate because of lack of opportunities…

          Granted, whether CVS is an opportunity is up for debate. But the point stands, and is a reasonable one.

        • nekulturny

          What, you’re running out of career criminals? Who knew?

      • Maurice Patapon

        Whites (or wealthy developers of whatever color) will “reclaim” whatever they want to without needing the destruction of a riot, AND, destruction alone does not mean gentrification (look how long the bombed out south bronx stayed that way). And yes, from what I’ve seen, when a mob moves toward a wealthier white neighborhood you see the cops swarm to stop that. Doesn’t mean the “Whites” aren’t vulnerable though. For a while in Oakland there were some young workers kicking around the slogan “Black and Brown Shut it Down.” They were talking about workplace actions at jobs with mostly Black and Brown workers. Makes you think…

    • uniquebeauty79

      Your whole first paragraph, yes! I had to tell my significant other to change the channel last night because I started praying that the news reporter from CNN gets punched in the face because that’s ALL he kept talking about.
      People ARE angry. People DO want answers. People WANT to be treated like other people. FAIRLY.
      It’s sad to see what goes on when the powers that be won’t listen to or respond to the outcries of their citizens. Until they do, I believe this will continue.
      The killing of blacks by cops now is starting to become something that you wake up and say dang it’s been two weeks, wonder who it will be now?
      I have two sons (14, 16) that if they stay gone to the bball court too long, I ride by just to make sure they are ok. They aren’t bad kids at all in the capacity that I would expect them to have a run-in with cops, but hey neither was Trayvon. Apparently, even buying a juice and candy in your own neighborhood is dangerous.
      #prayforbmore #jesuswatchmypeople

      • Val

        It’s sad when a parent has to worry that the police are going to harm their children. Sad and totally unacceptable.

        • uniquebeauty79

          Exactly because I was telling him last night that NO ONE should be afraid to interact with the people we once trusted to “protect and serve.” He says he thinks there will be another Civil War, I’m not too sure about that but I know things will definitely get worse before they get better. Situations like these almost empty my vocabulary. I can’t search any part of my brain to give me the words to make this ok or to give me peace.

    • Here’s the thing. The Black electorate rightly decries the violence of the state, but often supports efforts by the self same violent state to promote economic development. We believe that the state can be tamed and used for positive ends. Perhaps I’m cynical, but I don’t think a state that powerful can be redeemed. It’s better to shrink it so that it can’t be used as a weapon against people without social power.

      • The desire to fix problems in society, is based off a desire to end certain things. When you’re trying to end poverty or end injustice, you trick yourself by thinking you can do that through any institution that is bureaucratic in nature. Bureaucracies by nature are not invested in solutions, they are invested in problems themselves…bureaucracies are self-corrupting, they don’t need money to corrupt them as the left likes to believe, and they don’t need communism or socialism to corrupt them as the right likes to believe. They function like abstract formulas, where human beings have to be reduced to statistics in order to legitimize their existence…anyone who views you as a stat, has no connection to you and cannot care about you: numbers have no compassion.

        The measure of a good society isn’t how well it’s institutions function, but rather, how well the society functions independent of it’s institutions.

        • Excellent point. The fact that different parts of society need formal institutions to speak to each other speaks volumes.

          • There are institutions in society that aren’t formal and aren’t bureaucratic: fraternities/gentleman organizations, churches, private businesses etc. They exist independent of the circumstances in a community, and are usually where the most powerful people in a society reside and hang out. They are grounded in the community and are invested in it, whether things are good or bad. The difference between rich and poor communities – white or black, is usually correlated with how powerful and relevant these informal organizations are in the community.

            • Question

              But isn’t that the disconnect in the black community – that our informal organizations do wield a certain and credible amount of power in the community but that that power is rarely aggregated to affect change?

              Individual black churches carry decent amounts of power in their individual communities and collectively, could wield immense power…

              • The power of black churches has greatly declined actually. People get caught up in the glamor and money, but it’s not the same as power…power requires a certain level of reverence…the church only has that with mostly single women looking for husbands lol (no offense). Black church leaders are no longer revered, yeah they make money and like Creflo Dollar they can live lives of luxury, but they’ve lost their moral authority which gave them credibility.

                People still go to church and churches still have influence, but it doesn’t extend past the congregation. Back in the day, black churches owned schools, owned businesses, and pastors were also politicians “on the side”. The reason why they could organize people, was because they were connected to a bunch of people: they connected people to jobs, could talk to officers who also respected their moral authority, even influence judges by helping defend you in court.

                It’s easier to organize people when you’ve already built stuff with them. The problem with the black community today, and with black leadership is they don’t build, but they protest. They’ll get together when the camera is around and there is a crisis, but when times are boring and no one is paying attention, they don’t take the initiative to build anything with their people at the helm.

                • Question

                  Does the Black church lack effective power because people no longer subscribe to its power or because the church refuses to wield it?

                  • A church’s power isn’t based on law, it’s based on the respect people have for it. If people don’t respect it, it doesn’t have power…churches can’t force people to do anything…that is why they are dependent on reverence to remain relevant.

                    • Question

                      I’m asking if the church lacks power because the church doesn’t wield power in the community or if because people simply don’t respect it? I think these two things are synonymous – people don’t respect it because it doesn’t do anything.

                      Does power get ascribed to something based on the status of that organization (e.g. being a church) or based on what’s its capable of (e.g. what it’s actually done)?

                      People don’t ascribe power to the church because the church doesn’t do much in the greater community.

                    • PunchDrunkLove

                      The church, God’s church will NEVER lose it’s power. It’s purpose is to save souls, and saved souls should save their communities. Most souls though are not interested in church nor God. “Church” is where God resides, it’s always powerful, almighty, all encompassing…..to believers. To unbelievers, He’s as dead as you’ve made him. So when you have a community that want to have talks void of God, and just plainly not interested, then you have the mess we have today.

                      People gravitating from the church has nothing to do with God nor the power of “church” depleting. It has to do with the times predicted, that there must first come a falling away.

            • nekulturny

              Notice that the institutions you rightly name are all under attack. White and black alike if you can see it. Somebody doesn’t want us to be free. Not you. Us.

      • Val

        Shrink it? How?

    • Tray

      Truth!!!

    • PunchDrunkLove

      “So, burn it. Block freeways during morning rush hour. Burn down businesses in White neighborhoods. Block people from being able to get to the airport. Shut down public transit to D.C. Shut it down, stop the flow of money and change will come.”

      This is NOT the answer nor the way. The cycle continues and buys into most of their reasoning to eradicate blacks anyway. And now? We’ll hear and continue to hear, thugs, hoodlums, no do gooders, so forth and so on. Listening to GMA this morning THAT is all I heard. “And the thugs continued burning the city……..” So yeah, we continue to burn and act like savages and they’ll in turn continue shooting down our folks like dirty dogs…….cause thugs and hoodlums don’t deserve to live.

      And that’s the thing, we run out in the streets, act like savages, destroy everything in view and then what? Nothing…nada. WE, us blacks ain’t got nothing left. All the establishments gone. What will they do? Go back to their white neighborhoods and live their white lives and continue eradicating blacks cause animals anyway. It is soooo counterproductive to heap violence on top of violence. And trust, ain’t no black coming out alive if they THINK to take savagery to white neighborhood and businesses.

      Edit: Like the mom shown smaking her son and making him go home….GOOD FOR HER!!

      • Val

        First, you didn’t read what I wrote. Second, I suppose you think if we act nice then the police will stop murdering us, right. Sorry but being nice doesn’t work. Asking doesn’t work. So, are we just going to march and hope? Or are we going to try something different.

        And, the savages are the police. If you can’t see that then that’s on you. You are apparently seeing Black folks through a White lens.

        • PunchDrunkLove

          Not only did I read it, I quoted and then disagreed with it. I’m not discounting that we’ve witnessed folks getting hunted down, but anyone that advises to go on a killing spree in return, when that will only add fuel to the fire and escalate the current problem might need to take off the “black” lens. Unless you’re willinrg to get out there and risk losing YOUR life through such violence then you shouldn’t advocate nor advise it.

          I’m watching through mommie lens and common sense lens. I wouldn’t want to see my kid lose her life nor anyone else’s kid from running amuck, making a sacrifice that’s not going to bring about change ESPECIALLY when most won’t take the risk. What we see running the streets are those willing to die without a cause. A wasted life and NOT the way to handle. Most of us with any sense are blogging or working or getting the kids off to school. We are not happy, we are appalled, but we are not tossing bricks and destroying our neighborhoods. We dang shole ain’t running into the barrel of a gun. That ain’t a black or white thing, that’s love for wasted lives thing. We don’t like it no more than the next person but rooting people to be destructive and likely killed in the process is senseless……esp when you won’t do it.

          What do we stand to gain ill advising? It’s certainly not going to raise the dead. It won’t get the attention of white folks either. Just another dumb n!gga in the grave.

          • Val

            So basically you are advocating for doing nothing but being sad. Well if that’s your advice okay. But, don’t expect everyone to be so docile. Some of us are willing to risk our freedom and our lives to work for a day when we aren’t being routinely murdered by police.

            Nothing changes if nothing ever changes.

            • PunchDrunkLove

              What I’m NOT going to do is advocate what I’m not willing to do. It saddens me to see blacks shot in the back, in the back of the head, but saddens me more to see teenagers looting and rioting KNOWING it ain’t gone change a dang thing but the scenery. A broken, busted neighborhood.

              When you get from behind your computer and join the ranks of those senselessly risking and losing their lives then you can talk. IJS You and I both know to kill a police might seem to be progress, but it’s only going to cause more vigilant policemen to raise up…..thus the hunt continues.

              I wouldn’t want my kid to be advised by you or any other adult saying “gon out there and burn it down.” I hope you aren’t affiliated with youth in any way.

              I have a kid and I teach kids that are riiiight there in the breaking or making point of their lives (ages 15 – 18)….so I know what I’m talking about and the platform on which I stand. Call it acting white, being white, white lens. I know the need and I know the cause.

              • Val

                I’ve been out there. So don’t tell me about when. Just becasue you hide behind your keyboard don’t assume everyone else does. I’ve had cops grabbing and threatening me just last year on the streets of Oakland . So, I don’t just advise, I’ve lived it.

                And who said anything about killing police?

                • PunchDrunkLove

                  Yeah, but you’re here alive and intact. Get on out there on the streets, toss a brick or two, burn down a couple of stores and come back to tell us about it.

          • PhlyyPhree

            “m not discounting that we’ve witnessed folks getting hunted down, but anyone that advises to go on a killing spree in return”

            1. Who advised a killing spree? WHO ADVISED A KILLING SPREE???? Because if there’s one thing I didn’t see anywhwere, it was advice to go on a damn killing spree.

            2. Anytime you preface your concluding statement with ‘BUT’ you negate everything you said in your opening, therefore, I read nothing after your BUT.

            • PunchDrunkLove

              When you want unarmed, clueless teenagers and young adults to throw bricks and destroy neighborhoods, what else you think will happen??? Folks gon have talks?
              You don’t have to read anything I said…I’ll say it like Wise Cougar said once…”I don’t believe I was responding to you.”

      • Vanity in Peril

        Your respectabililty politics soggied my cornflakes and I didn’t even put the milk in them yet

        • Question

          I’m not gonna cosign PDL’s choice of words – but I don’t think its about respectability politics – its about understanding what the goal is and asking ourselves do the actions support or align with the goal??

          What is the goal of destroying aspects of one’s own community? Do we have a secret plan about how we’re going to replace those businesses that we destroy – how we’re going to provide our people with access to health, beauty and pharmaceutical products at affordable prices in place of CVS? Or how we’re going to provide a handful of our people with a few menial jobs in place of those offered by CVS? Or a place where our people can go and get free and low cost blood pressure exams, vaccinations and health screenings by pharmacists?

          ‘cuz if that’s the case, burn that isht down! Otherwise, maybe our actions might be a BIT shortsighted – understandable, but shortsighted.

    • nekulturny

      Serious question: if you become obnoxious enough to the powers that be, why won’t the fire next time work the other way? I presume the cops and the National Guard haven’t run out of ammunition. Depending on the mood of the media, whose masters also have property interests, that gathering of bloods crips and Muslims could get droned, let alone machine-gunned, to thunderous applause. Let’s say the authorities actually did have the mentality of the Aryan Brotherhood. Bricks against .50 cal. What’s the plan? The plan is you don’t really believe what you say, or you would be afraid.

      The fact is that you are not needed. People on welfare, at least, are not working and therefore are not needed. If you haven’t noticed, D and R alike are happy to replace you with Mexicans.

      You should not be insulted by what I say. A gentleman cannot be insulted by the truth. You exist at the mercy of those you think merciless. See the contradiction? Please explain. Honestly, what am I missing here? I get that you’re angry…I’ve been angry before… never did me any good. This is almost literally cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • Cleojonz

      “So, burn it. Block freeways during morning rush hour. Burn down
      businesses in White neighborhoods. Block people from being able to get
      to the airport. Shut down public transit to D.C. Shut it down, stop the
      flow of money and change will come.”

      Here is the key. Stop burning down your own damn neighborhood so they can then come back in later and rebuild and drive you all out! Hit them where THEIR pockets hurt. Disrupt their lives. A church building? A senior citizen center? That’s out of bounds.

  • Epsilonicus

    Bmore checkin

    1. They let this happen. Before everything happened at the mall they shut down all transit and even removed students from transit. So basically kids were stuck at the mall. That mall is THE major transit hub on westside, with about 10 bus lives meeting at that point plus the subway.

    Also they knew this was going to happen on Saturday. The gangs thing is a lie. Gangs called a truce for a week. No credible threats of them hunting police.

    2. Police were throwing rocks at students. Also do we really believ .a bunch of kids outsmarted the police?

    3. That mall normally has heavy police presence dispersing kids. But yesterday that couldn’t happen?

    4. Most of the city was quiet. There were some sporadic incidents in the night. I was in the streets driving and it was quiet.

    5. Now in the most hood part of West Baltimore, they shut down the train smh. Folks are gonna struggle getting to work.

    6. They had police at the Inner Harbor, despite no one coming close, while other sh&t burned.

    7. Governor has said f&ck the city and laid all blame on the mayor. He republican so he knows we aint vote for him.

    8. The crazy thing is in the hoods that had uprisings, this is probably the safest they have been in decades.

    • CrayolaGirl

      The “gang” info was outrageously unbelievable. You got the scoop on that but you still can’t answer “Why was Freddie Gray arrested? What did the cops do to him?” Okay. GTFOHWTBS

      • If Pirus and Crips all go along.. they gonna send a press release. Yeah, sure.

      • Val

        NYPD put out that same gang story crap after they murdered Eric Garner.

      • Grossman

        Somebody probably heard Killer Mike’s verse on Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck) and let their imagination run with it.

    • To #7, i cringed to see the mayor jump up and call the kids thugs, because I knew they would still turn around and place the blame on her (cuz Black woman, shoutout Beverly Scott)

      • Epsilonicus

        But she wanted the control. She wanted this to be “her moment” because she is plotting a run for Mikulski’s Senate seat. Welp those dreams are up in flames.

        • If she wins another election again after this, Baltimore is f*cked with no vaseline. Case closed.

          • Epsilonicus

            She cannot run again so we have that blessing.

            • Wild Cougar

              Why won’t Elijah Cummings run?! He could win.

              • Epsilonicus

                He has strong seniority in the House. He would go back to being a freshman in the Senate. Its better he stays in the House

                • Wild Cougar

                  Donna Edwards is running for Mikulski’s seat. I wish her luck, but she’s not as well known as Cummings.

      • PhlyyPhree

        I saw that coming as soon as I saw her lips form the “TH–“.
        And I wasn’t wrong. I dont even think it was 45 minutes later when they started criticizing her poor leadership and communication. Tuh.

        • if you’re not going to hold cops accountable for killing civilians, at the very least call them out for negligence, those kids had that block to themselves for an hour and the only one there was Clark Kent for CNN

          • PhlyyPhree

            Now why in the world would she do that? As you said, Carcetti has his eyes on Senate…Oh wait, this isn’t fictional is it?

            I was horrified for the kids because I just knew that it was going to be wholesale slaughter when I saw the police with the riot gear out to “contain” HIGH SCHOOL children. And then I had to watch in disgust as CNN prided the police on their restraint when they didn’t attack the kids. I’m so sickened by all of this.

      • Melissa

        Ugh, what they did to Beverly Scott! And Olga Roche! Ohmygod, like what thinking person (aka, people who Read Things other than the Herald) doesn’t know the MBTA and DCF have been a disaster since before I had boobs.

    • Thanks for the update, Eps. I’m not surprised they did it like that. My question is why is theater allowing herself to get sonned like this. It’s like she has no clue about public safety, media relations or politics. How did she get elected?

      • Epsilonicus

        She got elected because no one showed up to vote.

        • Val

          This is a lesson for me not to judge a book by its cover. I expected her to be at least a little bit competent. She seems like someone grabbed her off the street and made her act as mayor.

          And who is she trying to appease by calling out protesters like she did? White people? If so it’s a lost cause. I was reading some comments on facebook from White folks there this morning and they seem to hate her.

          • Amber

            Well she’s taking a page out of the black politician play book of late. They try to play both sides by on one hand calling a group of teenagers thugs and being tepid to do the same of the system that created this mess. It’s not because that the majority of black males in your city are unemployed, neighborhoods suffer urban blight, nor the occupying police force, lack of economic development cause many neighborhoods that burned in the riots of the 60s have yet to be rebuilt it’s the so-called black teenagers.

          • Epsilonicus

            She took over. She was city council president. Sheila went down for stealing gift cards. So she inherited the position. Then she was re-elected because the opposition vote was split.

            She has money from huge developers. She has given a lot of TIF bonds and tax breaks to them. Those people love her. Everyday white people dont know anything about city politics.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Which is why those developers are licking their chops for the opportunity to create “A New Baltimore” and get payback for all the monies they pumped into her campaign.

              • Epsilonicus

                That “New Baltimore” narrative is already being spun. Best believe

            • I know a bit of what you’re talking about with the development. The problem I’m Baltimore is much like St. Louis in that everyday White people are politically separate from the Black folks. The one mitigation are the working class Whites that are still lingering in town.

    • h.h.h.

      it was funny to hear them say “uhhh…we got outflanked”…like protestors looked up military history, practiced war techniques, and came out with a tactical strike lol

      agree tho, totally bad communications response by mayor, police commish.there’s a way to express displeasure with any violence, but keeping in mind that the law enforcement side of the city has failed w/r/t/ this young man’s death.

      when people talk about “why we need leaders”…-this- might be a reason. having someone/somepeople that are respected by the community, that are respected by the police, that can talk to the police to ask them to back down, and can talk to the young who were ready to pop off, and calm them down (shoutout to 300BlackMen)…aka “mediators/translators”

      SN: i’d take the Mayor on a $200 date. IDC IDC IDC. #SingleManDreamin

      • Quite frankly that’s all she’s good for. She sucks at the mayor thing.

        • Theres something about lawyers wanting to be politicians out of the blue and its really hit or miss

          • Epsilonicus

            This is the perfect example.

          • Cleojonz

            It’s not out of the blue though, its almost like its the preferred stepping stone to politics. Almost half of all the Presidents of the United States have been Lawyers going as far back as John Adams.

      • Epsilonicus

        Our mayor makes a great legislator. She would make a great judge. She does not have the temperament to be mayor. Now Sheila Dixon would have stopped all this. She is respected in the streets because she is literally from the streets.

        There are leaders. But the kids understand that they are useless. And the people who can speak to them do not get the air time that others get.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “They had police at the Inner Harbor, despite no one coming close,”

      AKA Protect the assets man. We’ll let the hood burn and have a gentrification oops I mean mixed development project later.

    • HeyBooHey

      Glad you checked in, please be safe out there

      • Epsilonicus

        These streets raised me mama. I am ok lol

    • Lauron Thomas

      1) They did the same thing at Lexington Market, another major MTA hub and general black congregating area. I took a walk around downtown when I got off yesterday and was met with a police blockade two blocks away. So to reiterate, they stranded folks.

      2) where the heck did these bricks and pieces of concrete come from anyway? students didn’t go to school with these things, they had to have been supplied from the area, but…how? #thingsthatmakeyougohmmmmmmm

      4) the city really was quiet though. And still is today.

      6) the media is saying they cancelled the O’s game because of rioters – no, say it with the whole truth, you shut down the O’s game for safety. I don’t have a problem with cancelling it, but make sure you say it for the RIGHT reason, or else you imply that the city is under seize.

      They are doing a clean up at PennNorth at 12 today. I work not too far, so I’ll be out there. I’ll take pix, if I can

      • Val

        I was wondering the same thing about the bricks. There were just so many. But the police looked like idiots when they started throwing them back.

      • Epsilonicus

        2. They got them because so much of the city is crumbling anyway. If they took care of the infrastructure, there wouldn’t be any bricks to throw.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Is this a function of money? I know the President challenged cities to do public works projects to employ folks and bolster the economy. Did the city have enough money to put folks on the payroll to do a project like this?

          • Epsilonicus

            There is public works happening, just not in these neighborhoods. The infrastructure is happening in wealthy,white touristy areas around the harbor.

            • Val

              Just like on The Wire. Smh.

              • Epsilonicus

                If folks paid attention, The Wire explains all thats happening now.

                • pls

                  I actually just started watching the wire season one for the first time last night (shoutout to my colleague for his HBOgo password), but you are soooo right. two episodes in and those kids looked exactly like the kids on the show.

    • Ani-Q

      I work in the ER at Bon Secour Hospital and I travel by public transportation.
      Most of those kids go to school in that area. Usually when school is out you might see at least two officers in the area but yesterday there were many more and the kids were riled up. Some of the olders ones were instigating and the younger ones followed. Most kids seemed to be acting out on a mixture of showing out and their own frustrations. But it really got bad when the officers pushed them south and then young adults took charge of the situation and the looting and the torching of the buildings and cars. I was surprise that the police showed restrained until it got ugly but usually when kids are acting out, you just let them cause there is no way win win situation if an adult is reacting against 14-15 years old. The bus, the train, metro; there is always something. But best believe most of the adults didnt want this. Our elderly and adults are out here cleaning up. We have some mix feeling about the kids not going to school today. We will see what would happen throughout the day.

      • Epsilonicus

        The police claim they knew they were gathering days ahead of time. If so, how do you get outsmarted by some kids.

        • Ani-Q

          I dont know anything about who outsmarted who. All I saw were kids and their emotions. Whether the police felt that they were outnumbered maybe was a factor that affected how they responded but all I saw were kids. When this is over, I dont know how many of them are going to get pick up for their part in yesterday’s chaos and that is when the heartbreak is going to be bad.

        • Lol, same reason computer hacking works: energy, persistence and overconfidence in one’s defenses.

          • As someone who knew people in that game, I have to agree.

    • TheVilleintheA

      Thank you. I appreciate this non “you heard it from us first” report given in a regular, not to debase you, tone. Excuse my grammar.

      • Epsilonicus

        Your welcome. Folks not getting everything so I had to share from being in the city.

    • loserupthere

      And your wife is white so shut thfk up.

      • Epsilonicus

        Hi hater

      • TeeChantel

        That was inappropriate.

    • Ms. Bridget

      Who left the gate open?

      • Epsilonicus

        City gov’t and police said they knew ahead of time. I blame them

    • Cleojonz

      Thanks for the update. Sounds like the falsehoods are media sensation at it’s best.

  • Mariam
  • Over the weekend, I was trying to get some live footage on what was going on in Baltimore, so I ran into this white guy’s radio show named Pete Santilli (http://thepetesantillishow.com/), he basically revealed that there are things going on in Baltimore that are far worse than one could possibly imagine: you have cops purposely releasing drugs into the streets; cops r@ping girls and then attempting to marry them; cops purposely inciting riots so they can arrest people and charge them with fees, and actually saying it…but hey, the media hates context, so of course, we have looting.

  • Therein lies the problem, with each victim, each story all to familiar yet different, it becomes less about them individually because what is happening has become an epidemic. I’m torn on the hashtagging victim, while their name should echo through the streets and the tweets, it feels hollow because I’m not mourning the person, just the ideal.

    What I can react to is the problem at hand, that THESE OFFICERS ARENT FIT FOR DUTY. They are biased, afraid, unaccountable, from the academy they are taught that its you or them. The entire system is flawed, has been and we might be 2-3 generations away from it being so unless we do things perchance more radically.

    • I don’t actually agree with this…that the problem is the officers aren’t fit for duty, I actually think they are…we’ve just been led to believe that their job is to serve and protect…but their job is actually to profit off disorder. They only serve and protect when you have enough money and power to do without them. The system is not flawed, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. Bureaucracies by nature, function best, when situations get worse; they don’t exist to solve problems but to profit off them, so they can request for more money.

  • Dixie Lynn McWilliams

    Loved this. Sharing!

  • Amazonian Midget

    “So cry new tears. Write new words. Craft new prayers. Attend new marches. Channel new anger. Feel it all again. Every bit of it. All the empathy, all the sorrow, all the rage. Don’t fight it. Let it permeate you. Embrace its engulf. Because Freddie Gray deserves it. Baltimore deserves it. You deserve it. Do not allow them to desensitize you to the uniqueness and preciousness of our lives, to the beauty of being alive, and do not permit them to rob you of the agony of them being snatched away. ”

    Thank you for this.

  • This. ALL. OF. THIS.
    ALL OF IT.

  • KMN

    I peeped this meme of Langston Hughes and this portion of his poem “Warning”:
    Sweet and docile, Meek, Humble and Kind: Beware the day They change their mind…
    Milwaukee has calmed down from Dontre Hamilton’s murder…now we’re trying to figure out why a man shot another man that hit his 2 yo nephew and got out to save the child, but then the uncle shot the man trying to save the child, and accidentially hit his OTHER nephew, killing them both…and then killed himself in CHicago…
    I’m so TIRED. My cousin was killed in police custody (Earnest Lacy) via choke hold. No answers…and this was in the 80s so you KNOW they weren’t gonna say ISH. Damon…thank you for this piece…but my soul cannot handle much more of this…raising a black girl in this world is just…draining. And those of you with black sons…i feel even more for you…
    I’m so done…so effing tired

    • Val

      Sorry to hear about your uncle.

      • KMN

        thanks Val but it was my cousin…the uncle was the other one who killed his nephew and another man…
        but ALL of this is just insane…i cant watch the news anymore because it just hurts so damn much…and I heard Don Lemon tail is on his way to Bmore…ugh

        • Val

          Sorry about the mistake I made. The last thing Baltimore needs now is Don Lemon.

          • KMN

            No worries…that was a lot of info in that itty bitty para…
            But yeah Don Lemon needs to sit down somewhere and rediscover who he is…he needs a rites of passage class/seminar to give him a head start…

          • Epsilonicus

            He is already here asking stupid questions

            • Val

              Folks should boycott that idiot.

            • Why don’t people like him get hit by cars or find themselves in freak accidents? Ughhh

    • kinkygirl

      I’m sorry to hear about your cousin. Please don’t give up. I know it’s hard and I understand how you feel, I really do. I feel like that too but i have two sons so I know if I give up, how can I encourage them to keep going and not give up if I have? We have a long way to go but if our ancestors had given up we wouldn’t have even gotten this far. Just don’t give up.

  • Charlisia Nwachukwu

    Wow. I am moved and I haven’t felt anything regarding this in a while. I have to tell you its not because I don’t care, I just cannot carry it. I got all wrapped up in this before and I became a person I didn’t like.. just wrapped up in fear and anger.For the first time in my life I felt really wrapped up in race (I have never been this person). I have had to turn off the TV, not read the headlines and definitely not read the comments to the headlines on purpose. I just cannot process this all in a healthy way… I would love to hear how other people deal with it.

    • KMN

      I’m with you Charlisia…I would love to know how others deal in a healthy way…if there’s such a thing. the pain from this is unbearable…

    • Val

      For me I try to do something constructive. I’ve marched and protested a few times. I’ve made protest signs. There’s all sorts of positive ways to get involved. It has helped me to not feel so helpless.

      • KMN

        Thanks Val…i was just thinking about this question again…and made me really look at my life and be like wtf am i doing that’s making a difference? so many of us look at these events and be like well that’s in BMore or in the 53206 zip code and i’m far removed from it (that’s my old hood and i know it well)…but then we get into our routines…and into our children…and making it better for them…but then we forget about those who are still in 53206…in BMore…i’m tired of forgetting but tired of remembering…
        it really feels like i’m being torn apart trying to do for mine while doing for others…i need an outlet and i dont know if poretesting and marching cuts it (for me anyway)…

        • Val

          For me doing something took some of the frustration away. And it can be whatever you may be comfortable doing. Some folks handle social media giving updates. Some people make sandwiches. A whole lot goes into an organized protest. And a lot of those things don’t take lots of time.

      • Question

        I’m asking this in earnest – do you ever feel like the marches and protests aren’t accomplishing much?!

        I had some friends who marched for Michael Brown ask me to come out and I thought about it, and then I stopped and asked “for what?” – not the rhetorical “for what” (like “this is a waste of my time”), but “for what purpose – what is the goal?” and no one had an answer.

        Being 100% honest: I’m kind of getting frustrated with us – I want to do something meaningful so badly. But I’m struggling to find options where I’m like “yeaaaaa! This makes sense, let me get involved!”. I don’t want to just Tweet and Facebook stuff, or sign online petitions. I want to put my skills, knowledge and access toward actionable stuff. Like on-the-low-low stuff where the White media turns around and is like “whoa…where did that come from?”.

        Who is organizing US – the bourgie black folks with education, skills and access to really make some changes on behalf of our communities?? Sometimes I feel like we’re attacking 21st century problems with 20th century tactics…

        #EndRandomRant

        • IsitFridayyet?

          Thank you for articulating what I have been unable to say. I know the common retort is “start it yourself” but when you ask what the problem is and the answer is “the system.” Then the efforts to fix the problem needs to be broken down and prioritized.

          • Question

            This is where I’m at too.

            I hear a lot of people argue that the Black community doesn’t need leadership and I have mixed thoughts about that sentiment, but I’m willing to go along with it. But I feel like it is these circumstances where the lack of cohesion, strategic leadership becomes apparent.

            People always say I should start something and I’ve thought a lot about it – the problem with my ideas is that they take money. A lot of it. #yeShrug

            In the mean time I feel like the talent that we have within the community is wasted on marches and protests when in reality we have so many skills in our cloak that we aren’t utilizing effectively. I’m not saying anyone is above taking to the streets – but the dude with 2 degrees and a JD – is the best use of his time and skills holding signs and marching or is there some other way he can be contributing to the SAME goal…?

            • Epsilonicus

              He needs to be on the streets AND leveraging his skills elsewhere. No one is above doing the work to build constituency and keeping issues in the public eye.

              • Question

                Agreed.

                I guess I just feel like we’re strong on the keeping issues in the public eye, and a little light on the follow through that leads to lasting change. And I question whether we’re leveraging the public eye effectively. We capture it, and then what…?

                • Epsilonicus

                  Using Ferguson as a n example, they were able to get better elected officials. They also got a few other bills passed that work. And they are continuing to organize. Again those successes did not get the glamour of the uprising. However it happens.

                  The issue is also people want instant results when in many places, you need to have a years long POV.

                  • MsGolightly

                    I can’t speak for others but long views are exactly what I’m looking for. Short term thinking yields short term results….

        • esa

          protest is release, but it is not resolution. to get results one needs leverage of all sorts: leaders, lawyers, judges, voter blocks, lobbyists, financiers, media conglomerates, et cetera. power concedes nothing without leverage, and that’s where ish gets crafty as fukk.

        • Epsilonicus

          “I’m asking this in earnest – do you ever feel like the marches and protests aren’t accomplishing much?!”

          You asking the the right question for the wrong situation.

          • Question

            …I don’t follow…

            • Epsilonicus

              Protests are a constituency building tool. They are a pressure tool. They are a tool to keep ideas and issues in the public eye. No protest ever solved a problem. It is the organizing that happens before and afterwards that actualy resolves the issue.

              • Question

                I’m with you – I’m asking if we’re doing the organizing and tactical action before and afterwards that resolves issues (the latter part of your statement)?

                • Epsilonicus

                  yup. that stuff just doesn’t get the media spotlight. but it happens

      • kinkygirl

        Thanks for sharing what works for you. I get so angry, sad and frustrated, and just feel powerless. I am going to keep tabs on the protests, marches, etc that are going on in Oakland also so I can be more actively involved. In one of your earlier posts you mentioned that STRATEGIC violence that hurts THEM is basically necessary to effect change, and that’s something my father has always believed in. I used to think he was wrong and we needed to always be peaceful, but I’ve changed my tune on that in recent years. Clearly some other commenters did not actually read your post or process what they read before replying.

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