It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.Riots are effective at drawing attention -- rioters are heaped with the scorn of those in power -- but less effective at stating what is going on that is so intolerable. A remarkable quote, from Aisha Snead who grew up in West Baltimore and reported in The New York Times 4.29.15, captures the essence of the problem that must be heard:
This is the land time forgot. They want to act like the CVS [which was burned] is the Taj Mahal. They have dilapidated buildings everywhere. They have never invested in the people. In fact, it's divested. They take every red cent they can from poor black people and put it in the Inner Harbor.
Who is hurt by racism? a) black people b) people of color c) white people d) all of usIf you picked D-All of us, you got it right. But ask around in your network. The usual answers will be a and b. We still don't get that oppression of some hurts all. This is a fundamental piece of the MACHINE that we can dismantle today. Spread the word: Racism is bad for the nation.