Monday, May 4, 2015

Baltimore 2015 Baltimore 1968 Deja Vu?

If you go back and read the Kerner Report of 1968
Written after a summer of 110 racial riots found in almost every city of almost every state
The conclusion of two separate nations, one black and one white
Were readily apparent as the cities burned into the night
What was not as clear was that the police were symbols of white power, racism and repression
Abrasive policing tactics as an explosive source of grievance, disorder and tension
You get a sense of what for cities like Baltimore almost 50 years later would await
If anything it would seem the War on Poverty and election of a black president notwithstanding tensions did not abate
But Baltimore is not a Ferguson; its mayor, police chief and all its city council are black
Likewise are half of the men and women who pin on a shield and who daily face daily criminal attack
Like Red Auerbach who saw  not black or white players,  only players in Celtic Green
The blacks in Baltimore now see not black or white cops, only oppressors in blue on any scene
Some racial progress must have been made in removing police white power unless one believes one becomes an Uncle Tom by putting on a shield
Somehow a black cop loses his racial identity wanting to a night stick on fellow blacks wield
No something  other than race must be present in Baltimore that has nothing to do with a policeman’s skin
I think it has to do more with the hopelessness of the black youth that they can only lose never win
Whites have fled Baltimore and the city has shrunk faster that a puddle in Death Valley on a scorching July
As long as the schools fail, employers leave or if they remain, at risk of being torched, hopelessness will intensify
The only industry in Baltimore that seems to thrive
Is the sale of drugs to get high and  to survive
No one white or black relishes an encounter with any police
One can only grit one’s teeth and hope one will be released
Ask any defense lawyer whether police lie in reports and on the stand and here is my guess
By an overwhelming majority having watched  their scripted performance the answer would be “yes”
This is an issue that goes beyond the sound bite and pandering to the voters rhetoric
Goes beyond a criminal justice system which in dealing with drugs if not broken is somewhat sick
The thin Blue Line in Baltimore faces almost impossible odds
Facing youth dropping out from an educational system at best slip shod
Unskilled, almost illiterate, most likely with a father long since gone
Wondering after you kiss the wife is this the day I end up at Forest Lawn?
Body cams and more training will help but how do you overcome the human reflex to one’s own life preserve?
While the community needs more not less police protection from violent crimes and the safety they deserve
Police need to know they are like fish and the water is the community in which they need to be able to swim
And the youth of the community must learn that without the police the chances of not ending up in a gang then to a prison or pine box are very slim
Not going to be easy and more, unaccountable dollars from the feds will out of this mess not  lead the way
While the teachers’ unions protect failed teachers and over the politicians their PAC dollars hold sway
Assuming Baltimore and its hopeless youth can business convince that any business will not be looted or burned
And taxes and higher minimum wages for locating in poverty zones will be for some period spurned
With credits for those who hire the dropouts, the academic failures who might like to work as opposed to selling dope
A first step to giving the youth some work skills to the economic challenges cope
Spice up the incentive  package with a whole lot more charter schools
A proven way in almost any city to impart life coping tools
Overhaul the curriculum with teachers not just at a desk marking time to a pension check
More vocational training and self esteem and the idea you’re black and therefore a failure reject
Baltimore is only miles away from the marketing street of the Western World that seduces the masses to all goods and services buy
Where is the ad and social media campaign that real men do not have kids out of wedlock and if they do, they don’t leave should be the battle cry.
It will not be easy—the police, churches, community, employers and schools must come together
Or Baltimore’s chance to recover and prosper will soon be nevermore quoth the bird with dark feathers

© May 4, 2015 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
Alaskanpoet for Hire, Poems to Admire
Poet Extraordinaire Beyond Compare
Rhymes for All the Memorable Times
The Perfect gift, All Recipients to Receive a Lasting lift

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