TGR: Why Blacks Still Struggle in Baltimore: A question of love

By Doni Glover, Publisher
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(BALTIMORE – February 27, 2022) – You ever ask yourself why inner-city Black Baltimore looks so off-the-chain? Do you ask yourself how come the violence is non-stop as it appears there’s a whole new generation of criminals running wild? Do you ever wonder why our beloved school system seem to struggle? I mean, the mayor blames historic underfunding from the state to the tune of billions while the governor asks for fiscal accountability.

Meanwhile, longtime John Eager Howard Recreation Center Coach Rodell Bailey-EL reports that the youth in that neighborhood had meager access at best to the new, 21st-century school in Reservoir Hill – Dorothy Height Elementary School. In other words, while we claim to have new schools, our children – the ones who need access to them the most – can’t get in.

To answer my original series of queries about why Black Baltimore is struggling – despite one of the highest percentages of Black elected officials in the nation, I think back to something former longtime elected official Melvin Stukes told me years ago. He said, “The problem in Baltimore is that people are stingy.”

By golly, I find that to be true. No, not everybody in Black Baltimore is stingy (Thank God for people like Baltimore Saint Bea Gaddy) – however, there is quite often a cliquish spirit that permeates the people from the top down, and it prevents us from truly being great. Black gatekeepers, blindly divided by schisms, do more to hinder than help.

Fear not, my friends! There is a solution. And it’s very simple.

If COVID has taught mankind anything, it’s that life is short. We all know instances of folks who were here today and gone tomorrow. That being said, isn’t it time to stop the childish machinations that continue to drive wedges in our families, our communities, and ultimately our beloved city?

The people at the top of the ship are clearly not communicating with the people at the bottom of the ship; a basic failure to communicate.

And that’s where a Sheila Dixon shined. She had an ear for the everyday person and their needs. So did William Donald Schaefer: he listened to the people. Consequently, trash got picked up, potholes got filled, and recreation centers were open. Even more, we had a certain community pride. We had a certain level of self-respect that would not tolerate what we do today, like young, Black men by the hundreds who insist on standing on corners like it’s a job with benefits.

Because we adults are selfish and stingy and cliquish, our children are even more privileged and ungrateful and spiritually whack!

While there was a time in Baltimore City when an adult could correct a neighbor’s child, we now live in a day and time where that will get you shot dead. Our young Black men who sell drugs now have zero regard for children or elders, and some even protect their white clientele. What the …? You see, this is a new day and time. The code from the past no longer applies.

But through it all, we just have to dig deep. We gotta pray like it’s up to God. And we have to work like it’s up to us. We can’t say that’s not my job or responsibility. Everybody has to pull their weight. Many of us have things and habits we have to change. It may mean cutting some people off. It may mean not going to certain spots anymore. It may mean moving altogether.

All I know is that we can’t keep living like this. We’re not even living. We’re just existing. Nonetheless, I believe that we have what it takes to love our way out of this. And some of that love is going to have to be tough. Some of that love involves accountability for everyone from the mayor to the police commissioner to the state’s attorney to the citizen to the teen to the person living on the street.

We have to help those who need and want it, but they too must come to understand that we all play a role in making our city as great as it can be. It’s called giving back.

Parents have to step up! Teachers have to step up! Step-parents, elders, politicians, celebrities, blue-collar workers, scientists, trashmen, computer experts, judges, police, community leaders – everybody has to step up and spread some damn love!

And people who don’t know how to live in a civil fashion like normal people – well, they have to go away until they do.

We have to get back to Black unity in the community. Muslim and Christian, Jew and Gentile, atheists and spiritualists – but all Baltimoreans! Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder sang so eloquently about this unconditional love; so did Earth Wind & Fire and Maze. We need more love music. We need more forgiveness. And we need more cooperation. Besides, we can’t take none of this with us, so we might as well share.

And it is possible … if we try. It means that the preachers, the politicians, the business owners, the lawyers, and the community leaders have to come together and form a fist, as was done in the past – so that everybody eats. Funny thing is, our ancestors accomplished so much with so little. Today, we have more degrees, bigger houses, swanker whips, and bigger salaries – yet our level of cohesion is so … poor. We’re like beggars sitting on bags of gold.