A City of the Frustrated and Oppressed: Justifiable Homicide and the 2015 Baltimore City Riots By: Reginald Kenneth Mathes, MPA

White supremacy is war against Black people in general and against Black males in particular, as embodied in such tactics and strategies as justifiable homicide.  It will require a total commitment and counter war effort on the part of all Black peoples to neutralize, by every means at their disposal, this war of racist injustice” ~ Welsing

“A lack of education” is what a White cashier said aloud to me at a local gas station in Baltimore County after Baltimore City erupted into flames.  There I sat watching the city that I’ve been curious about for approximately 4 years burn in flames as Baltimore City Black youth claim their reparations in their very own underserved communities.  Again, I’m faced with the opportunity to decide if I want to turn my nose up at Baltimore City youth and call them ignorant animals as the majority of White America are doing today.  Or do I refer to them as ants like the elderly White women did while sitting beside me watching Baltimore City youth flee their very own community marts.

Instantly, I start realizing that I just experienced the racial micro aggressions that research suggest African-American students experience at predominantly White institutions (Harper, 2008).  Hardwood et al. (2012) asserts that racial micro aggressions are subtle insults that African-American students experience while matriculating through undergraduate studies at PWIs.  In fact, Hardwood et al. (2012) reveals that these racial micro aggressions are often racial jokes and verbal comments, racial slurs written in shared spaces, segregated spaces and unequal treatment, and denial and minimization of racism.  From my understanding, the subtle insults are often times difficult to understand and analyze.  However, this was not the case when the White lady beside me said “they were like ants” while enjoying her Maryland crab cakes at a newly established fine dining restaurant that serves mostly the privileged in a town that I guess is my new home.

I guess I was a fleeing “ant” as well when I was fleeing from my native land to attempt to escape the bucket of crabs that research indicates is a result of White supremacy and runs rampant in the Black community.  Basically, Blacks pulling Blacks down.  I assume that the same frustration, I felt before leaving my native land is similar to the frustration of Baltimore City Black youth and Black men.  However, in their case it’s not just crabs in a barrel they experience that leads to frustration and hopelessness.  I guess we can add justifiable homicide to the list of challenges, Baltimore City Black youth and men face.  Or an attempt at justifiable homicide.  However, we choose to communicate Freddie Gray’s death doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the fact there is a city of human beings that have been treated like animals for years and it finally reached its tipping point.

Ironically, as I sat down next to these two White women enjoying crab cakes while communicating racial micro aggressions, I was met by their eyes that said “hey, we’re not racist”, I was the only Black in the establishment.  With the fear they had in their eyes when I sat down beside them on this sad day in Maryland, I became fearful for my own damn life.  I wasn’t too sure or not if they would allow me to leave the restaurant without being lynched or stoned.  Moreover, I guess part of the reason I didn’t know if I was going to end up like Emmett Till or not, was because Maryland hadn’t seen riots of this caliber since 1968.  I grew more and more frustrated while I listened to an almost elderly White woman indirectly or covertly communicate subtle insults about Baltimore City youth, however; this frustration was not comparable to the frustration and misery that was illuminated on CNN.  Their level of frustration actually assisted them with successfully making a Maryland Law Enforcement SWAT team retreat.

My knowledge regarding justifiable homicide and the frustrations of the Black community, which are a result of White supremacy, eradicated my notion to label young Black Baltimore city youth as ignorant and inhuman.  Especially, after moving to a metropolitan city to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration and seeing a city of Black people in a state of despair that I didn’t know exist.  Maybe now the issue of the lack of revitalized buildings, oppression, revitalized schools and the results of institutional racism will be addressed.  I knew I saw and recognized something different and inhuman upon arriving in Baltimore City.  Ironically, I had the opportunity to witness the City that I was concerned about be burned down by the frustrated children that I taught in Baltimore City Public Schools and African-American adults in Baltimore City.

Can we blame them for their actions? Or do we blame another one of America’s law enforcement agencies with attempting to commit JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE?  According to Welsing (1991) an open warfare is continuously being waged against the African-American collective.  In fact, Welsing (1991) contends that this war that is being waged against the Black collective is due to White’s original fear of White genetic annihilation.  I do not whole heartily agree with some of the Cress Theory.  However, I do agree with her assumptions about what perpetuates Black inferiority and her theories, thoughts and ideas regarding America law enforcement and justifiable homicide.  For example, I agree that whenever there is an extreme sense of vulnerability due to unemployment and inflation there will be increased crimes in African-American communities which essentially perpetuates justifiable homicides of African-American males.  That being either children or adult males.

So if the system is basically a modern day system of slavery designed to perpetuate the oppression of people of color, should we be surprised if another law enforcement officer is acquitted for murdering another Black boy?  Welsing (1991) states “this murder and slaughter will be logically viewed as justified within the specific logic framework of fear of White genetic annihilation” (p.186).  Welsing (1991) actually relates the killing of Black men by law enforcing to the sport of hunting.  Honestly, it’s starting to seem like it is a sport to the White male law enforcement collective.

If murdering Black males of all ages is a sport to the White collective, why is throwing bricks at fully armored White males by young Black boys a good enough reason to label them as thugs and animals?  Can we blame underserved African-Americans males for reacting in this way when they come from the blood of slaves and have the heart of kings?  Can we blame them for reacting in this way if their ancestors were thrown off of moving ships into the Atlantic Ocean while their ankles were shackled?  Is this Karma that God is placing on the White collective for the slaughter of indigenous populations and the invasion of African territories?  Is this God’s ultimate plan to make ignorant White law enforcement officers recognize their privilege?  Or is this a notion of a higher power to make White America in general recognize their privilege?

I remember reading about White colonist invading a village of Indians and destroying their luxurious homes and farms.  The literature revealed that the colonist had never seen homes of such caliber owned by indigenous people.  After slaughtering the villages in entirety, they decided to stick around and enjoy the fruits of the indigenous people’s labor.  Literally, their fruits.  According to Wilder (2013) their actions were ordered by George Washington.  America’s President at the time.  Well, I guess if you’re White then you’re right.  I was being sarcastic; however, if they are acquitted or the charges are overturned then maybe the fear of White genetic annihilation is the fuel that keeps the fire burning in the White collective.

Finally, I argue that White identity development is essential to the character development of White law enforcement agents in America.  It is essential that Whites recognize and understand their privilege.  It is critical that White law enforcement agents understand that we are not living in a post-racial society.  In addition, I argue that if White law enforcement agents are trained in a way that allows them to understand that White supremacy is a system that was implemented after slavery to perpetuate Black inferiority, justifiable homicide, despair in the African-American community and Black on Black crime then change can slowly begin.  So whats next?  What’s next for Baltimore City?