Why Baltimore Matters

Recent events in Baltimore have once again left us scrambling for a solution to America's race problem, not only the earthshaking events of violence, destruction and disregard for human life but more so the frustration in many African American communities. The riots take us back to the 1960s when many African Americans were frustrated with the economic, social and political disenfranchisement of their American Dream. Yes, race was a factor but not the main underlying source of the frustration in many African American communities.

Baltimore has become the flagship of many poor urban communities. The a lack of economic mobility and community policing and a presence of poverty, drugs, deviant behavior, a failed education system and continued police brutality have continued to plague many inner-city African American communities. Yes, race was a catalyst but not the underlying factor of these riots. The national debate that should be taking place is not what threat do African Americans pose to police and society but more so how we can correct a history of exclusion, oppression, legal and systematic racism against a community that remains loyal to a country that treated them as outsiders. Race and race riots have taken away the best of who we are as Americans and what we can become as a society. The idea of Americans living in a post-racial society where all races are guaranteed the benefits of the American Dream and a society where race and racism no longer exists have almost disappeared in many urban minority communities. Thus, there lies the problem among many poor urban cities, these issues compounded with excessive police distrust and frustration has led to many of the urban riots we encounter today.

The failure to have a constructive dialogue on many of the urban issues that affect many African American communities is the underlying cause of the frustration among many inner-city urban dwellers. The lack of modern-day policing techniques, community involvement, communication -- but more so trust and faith in police -- fuels much of the debates that should be taking place today. Historical racism between police forces and African Americans throughout the country has led to climate of distrust, hate and disregard for black lives that has fueled much of the frustration that is being depicted today. Baltimore matters because American lives matters; the recent events have only reinforced that race continues to define who we are as Americans and perpetuate the fact that we are still not living in a post-racial era. These events have taken away the best of who we are as Americans and what we can become as a nation. These recent earthshaking events throughout the country have left us gasping for a solution for America's problem. Only conversations about the truth, the need for reconciliation, America's acknowledgment of its past wrongdoings and access to economic opportunities for all can lead to a more racially-tolerant society. These riots have only reinforced that white and black racial attitudes have not undergone a fundamental change and race continues to be a catalyst that fuels much of the debates that are taking place today.

Baltimore should not be held as the scapegoat for America's socioeconomic, political and race-based problems, but it should be held as a leader for the national dialogue that should be taking place. Baltimore represents much of what is to be black in America, frustration among America's urban dwellers, poor socioeconomic conditions that has led to this dilemma of anger and frustration among its residents. There needs to be a national discussion that should not be taking place only in Baltimore but throughout the nation on America's social ills. The dialogue must include different races, police, community activist, political leaders, clergy and any other members of inner urban communities.

Baltimore matters, because America matters. Black lives matter, because American lives matter. We need a conservation about the truth.