What's the narrative? What are we talking about? What is being said? How many of those things are true? You should be asking yourself these questions every fucking day. Not just because what's happening in Baltimore is happening but in service of not creating similar situations in the future.
By the way, I live here. This city is a part of me. I am a part of it. In this role I am not unique. In this role I occupy a space inhabited by thousands of people. I am a Baltimorean. I speak about my city the way I see fit. Things are very different than what is being produced on the local and national media platforms.
America has a very serious problem with accountability. Baltimore is very much a representation of that problem on a smaller scale. For years our city has been allowed to deteriorate. The physical infrastructure that was once proud is long neglected. Almost 50 years btw. 50 years.
The pictures that we see on the media portray a Baltimore freshly rioted. Boarded up. Abandoned. The truth? Huge swaths of our city have looked that way for 50 years. Why? Because we never did anything to repair the damages and fallout from the late 60's. Almost 50 years ago....
This Unrest: Looks Black and White but really; It’s Blue
At the foundation of this argument lies the simple fact that a young black man was apprehended by Baltimore police officers for no reason and the results of that altercation were him being dead. There are no shades of gray when it comes to that simple fundamental fact. It's not a black-and-white issue. It's blue and brutal.
Every person of color has the right to be furious. Every person who is a citizen of Baltimore, who is a citizen of the United States of America, who is a person with a heart should be furious. We need to spend more time working on possessing empathy to understand the complexities that come into every person's day-to-day lives.
Responsibility: What You Can Do
So the question goes, seriously though, what can I do? There's a lot that you can do and the best thing about it is all it takes is opening your mouth. So many of the tropes that are being reported about our city are wrong. So many of the stories spinning wildly on the national media circus or grossly inaccurate. They're misrepresentations of what is actually happening in favor of good click bate and headlines. In favor of people tuning in to broadcasts. In favor of Gillette having more ad views. This is where we can have a tremendous impact. Don't be lazy. Set the record straight.
Stop the bullshit and start speaking up about what you see and how you actually feel. No one should be held hostage to the viewpoint of other people just because we are nervous to offend or hurt their feelings. If people around you are telling stories you know to be false speak up. Out of sync perspectives on what's happening in Baltimore are our worst enemy right now. We should be spending our time on dialogue not shaking our heads at falsehoods. It's our responsibility to let the world know what the real deal is. When we ignore the fight in front of us we enable it.
Leading in Light: Where I’ll Be
My plan for trying to be a productive and helpful participant in the dialogue is to continue to share information. I don't think it's my place to say what is right and what is wrong. I don't think it's my place to stand on the pulpit.
I do think that it's my place to share as much credible information that I've been able to vet myself. I do think it's my responsibility to challenge what is being told to me. It is my responsibility to stand up and have courage to speak out when people that I love say things that I do not agree with. It's no longer an acceptable time for me to let someone off the hook because they're my friend. I do this with the understanding that every time I speak out I do something to tell the truth and when I remain silent I co-sign their message. For me, no way.
It's my responsibility to educate my children. That no matter how young they are I have a responsibility to give them the best perspective on what is taking place. I'm promising myself not to let their heads be filled with stories that aren't true. I'm doing my best to keep focus on giving them narratives that they can understand. Narratives that I can skillfully build on as they grow older. I am tasked with the responsibility of helping my children grow up in a society that desperately wants to call itself "Post-Racial" although it's far from it.
To Whom Knows Where?: El Futuro
What does the future hold? I have absolutely no idea but I do know that I'm committed to making Baltimore a place that is better and better every day that I can be in it. I know that I'm going to commit myself even more to having a positive impact on this great city.
I've said it once before in this column and I intend to reiterate again and again. I very much believe that the solution that is going to pull many of our midsize cities out of this crazy slip that they're stuck in is going to come at the hands of entrepreneurship. I believe that it is up to us to recognize the communities that allowed us to become who we are. I believe that we can develop a system for harmony, productivity and real life. For everyone. Will you join me?
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