Baltimore is a 70 percent black city.
West Baltimore is neighborhood in Baltimore that is 83 percent black.
If you want to know the truth about Baltimore, pick up a copy of The City that Bleeds: Race, History, and the Death of Baltimore.
After it was dubbed a “disgusting, rat, rodent infested mess,” by President Trump, a bunch of white conservative supporters of his decided to travel to West Baltimore and clean up the city.
The result? This spontaneous act of momentary gentrification resulted in white conservatives picking up 12 tons of trash the citizens of West Baltimore – mind you, the population is 83 percent black – had left all throughout the community, never cleaning it up but only augmenting the piles of refuse on a daily basis.
Enter the primarily white editorial board of The Baltimore Sun. They blasted the white conservatives who cleaned up the 83 percent black community of West Baltimore for “reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?”
[We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?, Baltimore Sun, August 6, 2019]
It made for good photos, compelling videos and catchy Twitter hashtags. A group of conservatives rolled their pickup trucks into one of West Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods Monday for a cleanup day. Loaded down with trash bags and shovels, they cleared alleyways of old tires, food containers, paper and other debris. They pulled up weeds and cut away overgrown grass. The group posted before and after pictures on social media showing their progress.
The effort was organized by pro-Trump activist Scott Presler. He claimed the event was not political. Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a “rodent infested mess.” But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said.
Call us skeptical.
Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed. He doesn’t post any photos of the totality of the trash, so we’ll have to take his word for it.
But if this was all about “Americans helping Americans,” why all the videos of Baltimore residents thanking Mr. Trump for bringing attention to the issue? We happen to know that not everybody in West Baltimore feels that way. And in the same posts as the videos, why the frequent reminders that this is in act Mr. Cummings’ district?
Then there’s the photo of a Washington Post front page from the day that President Barack Obama was first elected. Mr. Presler tweeted that volunteers found the strikingly un-yellowed, decade-old newspaper among the trash. “Obama Makes History. U.S. decisively elects first black president,” the headline reads on the page. “It’s been 11 years,” Mr. Presler tweeted in what reads as a not-so-subtle critique of how much good Mr. Obama did for Baltimore.
Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?
Amazingly enough, Mr. Presler is not the first one to come up with the bright idea of a neighborhood cleanup. It is not really that remarkable of a concept. In fact, they happen all the time. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for people (frequently from outside the community) to refill the alleyways with illegal dumping and for grass to grow again in front of vacant buildings with no resident available to tend the lawn. Does Mr. Presler know that drug dealers use trash to hide their product and have been known to threaten people who try to clean it up? The solutions are just not that simple.
The City that Bleeds: Race, History, and the Death of Baltimore tells the story of what happened to Baltimore, a city that was 88 percent white 100 years ago. Why is West Baltimore, an 83 percent black community in Baltimore, full of trash, weeds, vacant buildings, ruin, and basically just a dumping ground for misery?
The answer to this question is obvious, but it is one few dare assert publicly. But The Baltimore Sun, in the editors sanctimony, attacked the white conservatives who picked up 12 tons of trash in a few hours (mind you, placed there and neglected by the residents of this 83 percent black community) for daring to “reinforce the tired image of our failing urban cores.”
Pretty sure it proved something else entirely about race and what’s really the problem in 2019 Baltimore.