The city of Baltimore, Maryland, has been besieged by riots Monday night — and police are on the scene ready to serve, protect and subdue.
This has become an evergreen narrative in the aftermath of reactions to state-sanctioned violence against black people. But that it persists sends a troubling message about how officials and, by extension, many of the people they serve regard rioting: specifically, when there’s white people involved versus mostly black people.
Usually, if a riot involves black people, it’s connected to intense episodes of where systemic racism is undoubtedly at work. These episodes include the 1992 Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King beating verdict, the riots in Oakland after the 2009 BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant, and the national outcry immediately following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. That outcry included the city of Baltimore, where blacks now…
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