If you're not black, maybe it's best to keep quiet on the community's reaction to police brutality -- or, at least, that's what Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter appears to be saying.
“I’ve never been black, OK?” he said in a press conference Wednesday. “So I don’t know, I can’t put myself there. I’ve never faced the challenges that they face. So I understand the emotion, but I can’t … It’s a pet-peeve of mine when somebody says, ‘Why don’t they do this? Why doesn’t somebody do that?’ You have never been black, OK? So just slow down a little bit.”
During a separate press conference that day, outfielder Adam Jones also called on the city's leadership to give Baltimore's youth as much support as possible.
“I say to the youth, your frustration is warranted. It’s understandable -- understood. The actions, I don't think are acceptable,” he said. “But if you come from where they come from, you understand … This is their cry. Obviously, this isn't a cry that is acceptable, but this is their cry and therefore, we have to understand it.”
Baltimore’s black residents already had a tense relationship with the police department, and Freddie Gray’s death appears to have been the last straw.
Charm City’s maladies -- such as poverty and police violence -- are grounded in decades of segregation and discrimination, as pointed out by Jamelle Bouie for Slate:
Baltimore has had a generation of politicians, white and black, who can renovate tourist areas and implement new police techniques, but who can’t provide relief and opportunity to its most impoverished residents -- but it is important context. Even at their absolute best, the city’s leaders have to contend with the cumulative impact of past disadvantage.
Baltimore’s youth have “seen the pain in their parents eyes, the pain in their grandparents eyes over decades,” Jones said. “This is their way of speaking on behalf of their parents and on behalf of their grandparents.”
Danielle Williams, a local resident involved in the protests and who caught her own wave of Internet fame by torching an MSNBC anchor for the media's failure to focus on Baltimore before the violence, made a similar point to The Huffington Post.
“What’s sad is that our children have seen us fighting for so many years now that they have participated in the fight because they realize at this point that we’re still not winning,” she said.
“When they see their parents, their peers, their family members being targeted by police officers day in and day out, they’re gonna react,” she added.