With all of the protests going on and people burning down their own communities, it seems as if I have been transported back in time to the 1960s. Events in Baltimore and Ferguson are reminiscent of when rioters burned Watts, Harlem, and Detroit in the 60s. I can remember wondering during those years of social upheaval, “What kind of statement are these people trying to make by burning down their own communities?” In the final analysis, the only statement the arsonists and looters made by burning Watts, Harlem, and Detroit back in the 60s was “We are a bunch of self-destructive, mindless criminals who should be in prison instead of walking the streets.” This is the same statement the rioters in Ferguson and Baltimore made recently.
There is no excuse for the senseless violence and destruction that occurred in Ferguson and, more recently, in Baltimore. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fellow leaders in the Civil Rights movement proved that non-violent protest in which the protestors take the high road even when the police and other authorities don’t is the most effective way to bring about social change. Burning, looting, and violence help no one, but what is even worse is that they hurt the very people who need help the most.
In Ferguson, the protestors and rioters tried to blame their destructive actions on the police with a heavy emphasis on a “white police versus black citizens” narrative. Of course, the mainstream media picked up on this narrative and ran with it doing everything it could to transform the narrative into gospel. But this same tired excuse-making strategy didn’t work so well in Baltimore where the population is heavily black, non-white are the majority in the police force, the Mayor is black, the police commissioner is black, and the majority of city council members are black. In fact, what happened in Baltimore has liberals wringing their hands and shaking their heads in confusion. For once, the time-worn finger pointing and excuse making of liberals does not seem to explain events in Baltimore—not even to other liberals. In fact, even the mainstream media has felt compelled to denounce the destructive behavior of the rioters in that beleaguered city.
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