Daily Reads: Race, Riots, and Context

In light of the riots in Baltimore in response to the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police, I offer this article by Conor Friedersdorf. Writing in The Atlantic, Friedersdorf condemns the violence while urging that the state-sanctioned violence perpetrated by police against Baltimore residents – particularly those of color – be addressed with the same urgency, indignation, and self-righteousness. Sadly, our attention is easily diverted from the underlying causes of the violence by context-free sound bites and video feeds, or by the actions of a single mother dragging her son away from the scene. Friedersdorf includes quotes from Martin Luther King that, to me, say it all, with this as the kicker: ” I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt.” Friedersdorf reflects King by concluding “that riots are to be condemned; that they are inextricably bound up with injustices perpetrated by the state; and that it is a moral imperative for us to condemn both sorts of violence.”

Two States of Emergency in Baltimore

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