As Baltimore picks up the pieces today, there will be a whole lot of talk about what happened in the city yesterday. And a lot of it will be not worth your time–reductive, hate-mongering, or just plain misinformed. I suggest that you ignore that stuff. Instead, here are some early responses that open up conversation instead of shutting it down:
Baltimore and the State of American Cities by Jelani Cobb, in the New Yorker:
The sliver of hope that Baltimore might not fully teeter into bedlam went up along with the neighborhood CVS, the police vehicles, and the buildings that were ignited on Monday. The day began with a plea for a moratorium on protests from Fredricka Gray, Freddie Gray’s twin sister, so that her family might bury her brother in peace. But by the afternoon, there was no peace for Gray’s family, nor any other in the city. On Monday afternoon, the governor of Maryland issued a state of emergency. Flyers for a Saturday rally issued by the Black Lawyers for Justice urged protestors to “shut the city down.” Two days later, the city is a theater of outrage. The flames leaping into the sky underscored a crucial concern: if the pleas from Freddie Gray’s family could not forestall violence in the streets of Baltimore, the difficult question will be what can prevent more of it.
Non-Violence as Compliance by Ta-Nahesi Coates, in the Atlantic
I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure.
Also worth checking out: responses from the Contemporary’s Deana Haggag; David Simon; Orioles COO John Angelos. Readers, what have you found to be useful, moving, thought-provoking, or otherwise helpful?