On a sunny, humid Tuesday afternoon I picked up the weekly issue of City Paper, one of Baltimore's free publications. I love this paper. It covers such a broad range of perspectives and writing styles. Reading through it makes me proud to be the beautiful, intellectual Baltimorean I am.
But there's a particular grim, bitter section of the paper that is so consistently grim that after a few consecutive reads, one is left numb. The "Murder Ink" segment covers murders in Baltimore weekly. I skim over it most times, because reading through it copiously, to me, is pointless. Well, this week I chose to read the page entirely. It consists of brief accounts of murders, often a result of gun shot wounds. Every victim was an African American male under the age of 35. Every. single. one. Now, I do not think these brief news reports on violence in Baltimore would be any more unfortunate or make an interesting read if the victims were another race or gender. It would still send a dark cloud over my spirit, moving me to wonder, "Why is there so much violence in our city?"
I ponder even further, "Why is there so much violence among black males?" A few weeks ago, Baltimore native rapper, Lor Scoota, was killed after leaving a peace rally in Baltimore city. He was shot multiple times through his car. And last week, one of his business partners was gunned down in from of his home.
After seeing in our national news more unfortunate, disgusting events that have happened involving violence against black men, I must now take a closer look at black lives and examine when they matter and when they do not.
Yes, it is apparent, to me, that black lives matter conditionally or only in certain situations. Over the past week, two incidents involving black men and a white police officers have made national news. According to available footage, the victims — black men — were killed unlawfully. We've seen these types of cases before. Cases where white law enforcement use what many claim as "excess force" and the perpetrator ends up dead.
I've seen it, and I am tired, and numb, and mentally weak. I do not want to take sides, because when I do, it hurts. Both sides; it's filled with frustration, confusion, and rage. Which sides am I referring to you ask? Well, there's the blue side (for cops) and the black side (for supporters of human equality). Somewhere, for some people, the two may collide. I think I am one of those people. I stand smack in the middle of the blue and the black. Unfortunately, too often, blue is seen as bad to the black and black is seen as bad to the blue.
So when and where do we place value for these groups? Can we always respect police for serving and protecting communities? Do we place value on blacks lives universally?
I can't say we do enough of both. It's like some type of flighty, on and off again relationship where both parties are only all in when it is beneficial or comfortable.
Have we gotten too comfortable with black on black murders? So comfortable that we only see the value of black lives when law enforcement or a non black has taken it away.
Are we now comfortable with furthering violence, taking the lives of police officers because of their career choice and association?
What is the Black Lives Matter movement? I need to know because I don't feel it, I don't see it in black communities. I only see it and hear it as a reactive measure.
I need to know because I am tired, and numb, and tired.