Baltimore’s black population is getting intensive coverage these days, for obvious reasons. The poor and underprivileged citizens of West Baltimore haven’t earned a thought from out-of-towners since the era when Omar Little roamed the streets; no surprise that the cops there still handle suspects the Western District way.
But the media ignores the white people that make up part of this story, other than the cops themselves. The same thing happens with all of these stories: the cops or the white politicians might get flack, but nobody dares shine a spotlight on the white citizens who give their tacit (or explicit) approval of the police homicides of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray.
In a completely out-of-character moment, Gawker ran this longform piece by Colette Shade, showing what the white people were up to during the same weekend as the riots, and it is a bit bile-inducing. I can absolutely vouch for the veracity of her depictions of these privileged white people, as I once lived in an area like this near another city. And my own cousins were like this, turned up to 11. Privileged white culture — I couldn’t even date white girls anymore because I got so sick of it. (Most of us are racist in our romantic desires — sometimes against our own kind. I’ve become like a male Kardashian.) Anyway, reading her interviews of these people really stirred some bad memories, or was “triggering” as privileged white college kids like to say these days.
Check out this guy:
“This guy,” said the man in the gray sweatshirt. “His spine was broken before the cops picked him up. I talked to doctors at Johns Hopkins. But his spine was already broken.”
That’s gotta be the case. I don’t know how many patients I see who stroll in with spontaneously broken necks.
Also look for the white girl named Ziggy, or the white boy calling his friend the n-word (how many times did I have to hear white boys call each other, or me, that?). Check out the white people smoking weed near cops without worry, when a black person doing the same would earn themselves a trip to the pavement, the Western District way.
Most of these stories keep the focus entirely on the black population and the police. But you can’t accurately cover a racial situation by ignoring the other races involved, however tacitly. The rich whites of Baltimore County (or St. Louis County, or Upper East Side) turn their backs on the city’s poor and enable their mistreatment by agencies of the government, the police department being just one of them… and that to me is even more important than individual cases of police thuggery. Kudos to Gawker for breaking with their usual editorial voice to run this piece.