Thoughts on Baltimore (and other issues)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the riots in Baltimore. You’ve heard about how people have taken to the streets to destroy, loot, and hurt. You’ve probably read the stories about the 15 officers (last I saw) who were hurt by the rioters. But what do we do about it? We can sit here, behind the comfort of our homes, our keyboards, our tv screens, and criticize, call them criminals, and tell them they should have done it another way.

And we wouldn’t be wrong.

But it’s not their fault.

If you are looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror.

I’m not condoning the riots. Looting, vandalism, and destruction are criminal behaviors and need to be treated as such.

But we did this. We did this when we ignored and didn’t give a voice to the thousands of people who protested peacefully before the riots ever started. We did this when we ignored a problem that is surprisingly well documented. We did this when we told people “we want peace, so stop acting out.” and ignored their response “we also want peace, so please stop treating us like second class citizens.”

I’ve seen two things floating around the internet today. First was this image

11182047_10206626065273308_2067402099562102352_n

Trying to show that White’s are killed more by police than African-Americans. Which might be true in pure numbers. But do some quick math, and you’ll find that while White people make up 77% of the population, African American’s 13%.

But do the math on police deaths and you’ll find that White’s only make up 37% deaths, while African American’s make up 21% of the deaths. If this truly wasn’t about race, then if 100 people were killed by police, then 77 of them should be White, 13 of them African American. But it’s not.

The second image I saw floating around was this:

11164827_460860007410394_8483147564786186121_n

Which brings to light an issue that is probably the root of the issue here. It’s that anyone who isn’t like us is less than us. Yet that is NOT the principle this country was founded upon.

First, to address the issue in the picture specifically, America has no official/national language, so why would you expect someone to cater to you but not others. If a business decided that they wanted to conduct business in all Spanish, they are well within their right, and the excuse of “we live in America, speak english” isn’t valid because…

America was founded to be a melting pot of cultures. It’s even inscribed on the base of The Statue of Liberty.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

When you open your doors to people, when you welcome them into your country, that means that your culture is not going to be one of “everyone looks, acts, dresses, speaks, or thinks the same”. To think of anyone who is different than you as less important, to tell them to “go back to Mexico/Africa/Spain/wherever” or to not offer the same opportunity to them because they aren’t like you, is wrong.

America means the freedom to speak in whatever language you want & expect that no one will think of you less for it. If you can’t embrace this beautiful kaleidoscope culture that exists in America, then maybe YOU should be the one who moves out of this country.

/rant

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