by Yvette Carnell
Still fresh in the memory of most Americans are scenes of unrest and rioting in Baltimore. After the Baltimore Police Department could not explain how an otherwise healthy black man’s spine was broken while in police custody, leading to his death, peaceful protests gave way to riots.
After the riots, both scholars and activists were clear on the simmering tensions that led to the unrest: Economic disparity, lack of education and opportunity were at the root of the violent eruption. One Baltimore officer, however, believes the problem lies in the spiritual realm.
“What we don’t understand as a city is that this is spiritual warfare,” said Baltimore Police Spokesperson Melvin Russell in an interview with News2Share’s Trey Yingst. “There’s things that’s been happening in the spiritual realm that the natural man doesn’t understand.”
The natural man doesn’t understand racism? And economic disenfranchisement?
“Where the crime has been happening is where the dark spirit of influence has been,” he continued.
Black Police Spokesman Blames Baltimore Violence on “Spiritual Warfare” and “Dark Forces”Click to tweet
The danger, of course, in blaming Baltimore’s violence on some spooky “dark spirit” is that it takes responsibility out of the hands of those who are legitimately responsible for the wealth gap, leaving blacks at the mercy of unseen forces. The truth, however, is that the ghetto was created, and not by black folk.
From the Washington Post:
Just a few years ago, Wells Fargo agreed to pay millions of dollars to Baltimore and its residents to settle a landmark lawsuit brought by the city claiming the bank unfairly steered minorities who wanted to own homes into subprime mortgages. Before that, there was the crack epidemic of the 1990s and the rise of mass incarceration and the decline of good industrial jobs in the 1980s.
And before that? From 1951 to 1971, 80 to 90 percent of the 25,000 families displaced in Baltimore to build new highways, schools and housing projects were black. Their neighborhoods, already disinvested and deemed dispensable, were sliced into pieces, the parks where their children played bulldozed.
And before that — now if we go way back — there was redlining, the earlier corollary to subprime lending in which banks refused to lend at all in neighborhoods that federally backed officials had identified as having “undesirable racial concentrations.”
But if you’re ignorant of this history, it’s easy to blame the bogey man in a red tight-suit with horns. American policymakers relish leaders like Russell, since they lead black people to believe more church is the answer to our problems. In truth, we don’t need more churches. We need more books. And more black people who are willing to pick them up and read them.
Watch the interview below: