Condemning the Baltimore Rioters is Not Enough

First off, I pray for peace in Baltimore today and throughout the rest of this week as the rioting comes to an end. I ask for the safety of all of the citizens of Baltimore and the law enforcement officers there. I hope that there’s healing in every way possible–mentally, emotionally, physically–as the city reacts to the unfortunate death of Freddie Gray and the decades if not centuries of tension and mistrust between the city’s residents and police officers.

As I went through my Facebook timeline today, there were plenty of people either questioning why people were rioting (usually non-blacks) or condemning the fools that were attacking police cars and looting (everyone).

I’m going to make it very clear that I agree that it’s ludicrous to destroy one’s on neighborhood to retaliate against the police or against any perceived injustice. It’s absolutely crazy to do things that will land you in jail and make your life even worse than it is now by looting merchandise. And it’s definitely pure insanity, if not suicide, to physically attack a police officer.

Yet, it’s constantly been on my mind lately¬†that we’re living in a world where everyone is a critic, but few people are problem-solvers. It’s a lot easier to shake our heads and smack our lips in disgust, but a lot harder to get from behind our phones and find ways to engage people in our communities or communities less fortunate than ours.

Instead of only shaking our heads and condemning the foolishness of the rioters in Baltimore today, let’s think of ways that we can be a part of the solution to rebuild our communities, as well as rebuild the relationship between residents and the police.

  • Let’s start by being¬†role models for our own kids. Let’s show them the type of people we want them to be¬†instead of only telling them. Let’s learn¬†from the mistakes of our parents and do better.

  • Take the time to mentor a youth that lives in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

  • Volunteer at an organization that offers kids options besides hanging on the streets.

  • Make an effort to know your neighbor.

  • Start a small business so that you can hire people that are typically shut out of the legal job market–teenagers, the formally incarcerated, people that used to be addicted to drugs, people with limited education or skills.

  • If you are a police officer, get to know the residents in your vicinity well-before you show up to arrest them.

  • Smile and say “hello” to a police officer and see if they will smile back.

  • Write letters to community or government leaders to petition more resources, programs, [you name it] for your community.

  • Save enough money for a down payment on a house in your neighborhood to invest in the community instead of keeping up with the latest outfits that the Joneses (or Johnsons) are wearing.

  • Vote.

Best of all, use your money to change the environment around you–support businesses that are employing people in the community. If you don’t see any black employees at your local beauty supply store, don’t shop there. Better yet, try to shop at black-owned businesses as much as you can (or start one!).

The world needs less critics and more action-takers. If you already take action to provide hope and opportunities to young men and women that feel like the world is against them (because often it is), I love you and applaud your efforts. Please go ahead and voice your dissent and shake your head. You are a force of change. But the rest of us need to STFU and do everything within our means to do something that causes less youth to feel hopeless enough to riot.

Today, as Baltimore heals, let’s also focus on healing other marginalized communities throughout the African diaspora.

Leave any¬†comments below or on¬†Facebook. I’d love to read¬†your¬†ideas for¬†healing cities like Baltimore and communites throughout the U.S. that are full of rage due to the weight of systemic injustice (that honestly may never go away).

12 thoughts on “Condemning the Baltimore Rioters is Not Enough

  1. jonolan says:

    Personally, I believe in condemning these rioters…as in declare an emergency, apply summary field justice to them, and put them down. Hellfire! Bring in A-10s and some Predators w/ Hellfire 2s.

    Americans need to re-teach these thugs the simple lesson that they can live in America peacefully or be exterminated and their nests burned out.

    Like

    • poppedblackwomanblog says:

      I’m sad to hear that you feel that way, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I believe the “thugs” that you refer to are Americans as well. In fact, I think the widespread belief that they are not Americans just like everyone else that was born in this country (or acquired citizenship) is part of the reason why they are acting like “thugs.”

      Like

      • jonolan says:

        And there we must separate facts under the law from truth. The thugs and all the Blacks who do not fully condemn them are- and should be treated as American citizens under the law but they are not Americans in any other sense.

        These are the same people who rant about the Two Americas, Black and White and who in the wake of desegregation built a culture that is separate from- and deliberating antithetical to American culture. I believe that they must be taken at their word since they repeated so consistently and loudly.

        Does this apply to all Blacks withing America’s borders? No, though the issue is so endemic to the Black Community that those of you who are more truly Americans have to “code switch” and be careful of how, when, where, and upon what to voice your opinions lest you be exiled, declared “not Black enough,” and called various things such as Oreo, Uncle Thom, or Race Traitor.

        Like

  2. Shahidah says:

    Excellent post! I agree and what we need is strong solidarity. We are living in a world with people like the poster above. Whether they are vocal or silent a lot of people share the mentality. Violence and brutality is heaped on us daily AND I’m not even talking about police but the systematic hate of people who have been proven to be the most violent people on the planet yet consistently tell us to stand down and pray.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. domesticatedwho says:

    Wow, great post and well said. I believe that not all black people want to see looting and burning, (I refrain from using riots because it isn’t expressly used across the board) nor do we want to see another black man die in police custody or in interacting with police officers. Like you said, we need to be a part of the change, instead of just having an opinion on what should happen. I’
    m really looking forward to joining the peaceful protests when I can.

    Liked by 1 person

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