Recent riots in Baltimore cast larger shadow over the real issue

Ronaldo Ramirez

Staff Writer

     Although the events that happened in Baltimore started off as a race issue (which still plays a big role), it has become much more than that: police brutality has proven to be the igniting force behind many of the riots that have happened in recent years. Several cases in the last couple years have displayed what happens when people let power get to their heads, regardless if the victim is African American, Hispanic, or Caucasian. Police brutality is the prominent issue that is being overshadowed by racial issues.

With a high casualty rate for African American people at the hands of police, people are quick to state that race is the reasoning behind it. Race is a big part this issue, but a bigger concern is: Why are we not condemning police brutality, as it plays just as big of a role, if not bigger? According to the Baltimore Sun, “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations just in the city of Baltimore.” Turmoil in the city of Baltimore has built up for years, and police brutality is overall a huge issue in that part of the country.

The media fails to report about this because they are not rating grabbers; instead they wait until people take matters into their own hands trying to fix an issue that shouldn’t have existed at all. This is when the media jumps at the opportunity to gain ratings by making claims of  protesters becoming rioters. People begin to question the actions of said “rioters” based solely off of ethnicity, but what is there to question? We tend to forget that all races get affected by police brutality and racial inequality, and focus more on only what is highly reported by the media, which happens to be cases involving the African American community.

The media talks frequently about the African American community rioting against court decisions and governmental injustices. All people of all races face that, the only difference being that the African American community appears to be the only one that is trying to fight for a change. They want their voices to be heard and they want changes to be made, and in order to do so, they are trying to capture the attention of the media and the people of this country. Whether their actions be via peaceful protests or riots on the streets, they are trying to actively fight against the wrongdoings of our law enforcement. Violence is, in no way, the answer, but it will continue to happen until people see results. The African American community is expressing their rage with the government through these actions, and are being labeled as outraged. Well, shouldn’t they be allowed to be outraged after seeing how many police officers have committed these acts of police brutality and have not been tried or have been tried and given minimal punishment (with the exception of a few recent cases like Freddie Gray’s case, in which six officers faced charges of homicide)? I do believe that everyone can learn something from how the African American community has handled this situation—everyone who believes in a certain cause must stand up and let their voices be heard. I’ve mentioned earlier that every race faces these issues, but we only hear about the African American community as they are the only ones actively fighting for change.

With the way most of the cases are being handled, if there is no change and a similar case happens where police brutality is in the spotlight yet again, who knows what to expect. The people of this nation want a change and they have shown they are willing to go to great lengths for that change. Many Americans have grown tired of waiting for change and are taking matters into their own hands; what initially started off as a race issue has let itself spread due to a lack of change and now has fallen into the realm of police brutality.

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