During the recent unrest in Baltimore, plenty of celebrities were not shy about sharing their opinions. But John Waters, Baltimore enthusiast and unofficial spokesman for the city, kept mum.
In a recent interview with the Daily Beast, he explained that he didn’t feel qualified to offer an opinion at first: “Because, A) I’m a white person, and it didn’t happen in my neighborhood, and B) when I got arrested [in Baltimore years ago], they didn’t break my back.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s not concerned with the issues brought up by protestors: “Every place I go when I talk to young black people, they tell me horror stories. You know, cops don’t pick on me…Black kids from all sorts of economic backgrounds…they tell me they get hassled, and not just in Baltimore, everywhere!”
Waters’s solution? More togetherness, more empathy, more unity among the variously disenfranchised: “The answer, I say, is really that you would have to switch neighborhoods once a week, and live in an opposite economic neighborhood of where you live. That’s the only way I can think that you’re ever going to feel what it’s like. Get your hair done there, put your kids in the school there.” And also: “The problem in Baltimore is that…there is also an equal number of poor white people. I really wish that they would team up. The poor people of Baltimore need to make it a class issue, not a race issue.”
A neighborhood swap, a radical union between Baltimore’s poor black and poor whites… sounds like a premise for an excellent John Waters movie.