12 Tweets That Prove We Only Give A Sh*t About Baltimore When It's Burning

by John Haltiwanger

It's an unfortunate fact that what's been happening in Baltimore will likely be old news in about a week.

Coverage of recent events in the city has already begun to die down, and #FreddieGray, #BaltimoreRiots and #BaltimoreUprising are no longer top trending topics on social media.

At present, it appears people are more concerned with the NFL draft than the well-being of Maryland's largest city.

Much like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Walter Scott, Freddie Gray will soon become yesterday's news.

It's a harsh truth that must be acknowledged, as it's the reason we have failed to address the issues that led to their deaths in the first place.

As a society, our collective response to events like this is exceptionally inadequate.

We offer fleeting attention to issues and incidents that really matter, and wonder why the mainstream media perpetuates the same cycle of sensationalized coverage.

Simply put, this isn't just the media's fault as they're giving us what we want: entertainment, shock and awe at the expense of real progress.

This is why our country has failed to make substantive changes surrounding the issues that led to all this: police brutality, the War on Drugs, racism, poverty and violence.

Thus, we find ourselves habitually revisiting the same problems, or as President Obama recently stated on the matter:

One burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way, I think, have been lost in the discussion. The overwhelming majority of the community in Baltimore handled this appropriately, expressing real concern and outrage over the possibility that our laws were not applied evenly in the case of Mr. Gray and accountability needs to exist. But if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It's just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don't just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns and we don't just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.

Likewise, on Tuesday, Jon Stewart rightfully contended that we should probably learn to care about communities like Baltimore before they're literally on fire:

They all help depict why there is so much pain in the city right now, and how we have failed to both prevent and alleviate it.

Baltimore was protesting for days before it got any real attention.

On Saturday CNN broadcasts a dinner party instead of covering #Baltimore. Two days later, it declares "the city is on fire." #responsibility — Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) April 27, 2015

Baltimore didn't riot because of Freddie Gray, it rioted because of a discriminatory, unjust and unequal system that we have continuously failed to reform. This is not a justification, but an explanation.

It is an expression of anger. Some humans riot because their school lost the big game. Others because the State can't stop killing them. — Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) April 28, 2015

"I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots... A riot is the language of the unheard." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

AT THE ROOT of this UPRISING is an outright REFUSAL by police, politicians, and prosecutors to TRULY acknowledge racism or brutality. — Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 29, 2015

Rather than acknowledging the fact that many Baltimoreans peacefully protested, social media focused on the negative aspects of recent events.

They just couldn't resist saying "riots". — Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) April 29, 2015

Things might be slowly returning to "normal," but for a lot of people in Baltimore that means poverty, violence, drugs and police brutality. We have to put an end to "normal."

Right to applaud a cessation of violence, but don't applaud a "return to normal." "Normal" was horrible for some. Gray died during "normal." — Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) April 30, 2015

Minorities in Baltimore have habitually been subjected to police brutality, especially last year, but it didn't make headlines.

Police in Baltimore killed more unarmed people in 2014 than 93 of the 100 largest U.S. cities. None were white. — deray mckesson (@deray) April 30, 2015

Major media outlets continuously ignore those striving for real change.

Protests are going down in multiple cities and CNN is talking about the word "thug." — Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) April 29, 2015

The people with the power to focus on what's truly important highlight molehills and turn them into mountains. Baltimore is no exception.

Television is a flashlight: it illuminates what it looks at and is blind to all the rest — Justin Miller (@justinjm1) April 28, 2015

This isn't just about Freddie Gray, it's much larger than that.

If you think the #BaltimoreUprising is just about #FreddieGray, you're not paying attention. Like, at all. — Tracie Thoms (@traciethoms) April 29, 2015

Baltimore has struggled for decades.

When West Baltimore *isn't* rioting, the national media, by and large, could not possibly care less what's happening there. — Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 28, 2015

We have failed to recognize and combat the roots of the problem.

1. Drive around the Baltimore neighborhoods where the riots are, and you see vacant homes and corner after corner of liquor stores. — Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) April 28, 2015

The sad truth is, we are all responsible for what's been happening in Baltimore, but we consistently fail to recognize that.

Minute most Americans decides there will be no more Freddie Gray, then there will be no more. Lot of other things to decide first, tho. — Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) April 27, 2015

Citations: On Baltimores Unrest Obama Says Ive Seen This Movie Too Many Times Before (National Journal )