It’s interesting to me the labels placed on groups of people in society in the midst of chaos. When there is a natural disaster like tornadoes in the Midwest, the families who become homeless are called displaced victims, while the people (majority blacks) who were left in filth and death, after hurricane Katrina were called refugees. Young college students can flip over cars, rampage the streets in a drunken stupor, and start bonfires and they are referred to as college students performing a “celebratory riot.” Whereas the people in the uprising in Baltimore, Maryland after the tragic death of Freddie Gray are referred to as “Thugs” by most in the media, and even by the Mayor.
It is sickening to hear the misplaced labels that only further perpetuate the bias belief by many that certain groups of people are worse than others and therefore they deserve what they get, even if the result is death. Many of the people demonstrating in the riots in Baltimore are young people who feel abused, ignored, and hopeless. They are not causing destruction because their team won or lost the game, their reaction is because more and more people that look like them are dying at the hands of crooked cops, and none of those cops are being held accountable for their actions. Why would these young people sit in silence and wait to be next. Some may have erred in their approach but their reason “why” is as noble as our ancestors who did the same thing when they were fed up with blatant injustice 40 and 50 years ago.
I am also amazed how the media quickly search for “so called” black leaders and elected officials to condemn the actions of the rioters and seek blame for the volatile reactions by the rioters. However, the media never urges the condemnation of the officers who shoot, strangle, and severed the spine of unarmed black men to their superiors or elected officials. Instead they look to blame the peaceful protesters, Al Sharpton, and any advocate on the ground enacting their first amendment right to free speech in order raise awareness. I watched Savannah Guthrie ask a preacher who led many peaceful protest prior to the riots and who performed the Eulogy at Freddie Gray’s funeral, if he believed previous chants of “No Justice. No Peace.” may have sparked the riots and do he feel he needed to be more careful not to incite others. He wisely pointed out that the cause of this reaction was not spurred by a chant but from multiple occurrences of injustice. Starting with George Zimmerman getting away with killing Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson getting away with killing Mike Brown; Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and John Crawford III all killed needlessly by cops who weren’t indicted.
The only Thugs are the crooked police who are playing judge, jury and executor that disregard black citizens’ right to due process. What type of mindset do you have to have to shoot a man in his back that was running away and then plant a Taser beside him to fit a lie? Running away is not a crime. If Officer Michael Slager had performed proper procedure in apprehending a fleeing suspect, Walter Scott might be alive and charged with “resisting arrest” or “obstruction of justice”, minor offenses that are dismissible in more serious cases. The real gang is those in blue who also believe in “no snitching” and will even go the extra mile to lie and plant evidence to get away with murder. The real threats to society are these crooked cops that know they are above the law because they are protected by a bias judicial system made up of their peers.
So the next time you hear the label “Thug” referred to a group of young black people frustrated and reacting irrational due to an irrational circumstance, don’t be so quick to adopt that narrative, without considering who the real “Thugs” are.