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Truth be told, I have had no connections to Baltimore, Maryland since my ancestors landed there in 1703. (Although the city wasn’t officially founded until 1729, the initial settlement was established in 1661.) Eventually, those ancestors chose to move westward; at least as far as Ohio.
As I was growing up, it seemed that many of my sports heroes were located in Baltimore (Johnny U. and Raymond Berry for the Colts; Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell for the Orioles). Still, I knew very little about the City. That being said, I don’t think I’m interested in learning much more.
Perhaps Baltimore is a microcosm of American cities; perhaps it’s a trendsetter, I’m not sure. All I can be certain of is that it has become a sick joke and that its elected officials resemble failed comedians.
Probably, the most famous was the former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who achieved notoriety for her statement during the riots of 2015, “…We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance..” (Of course, the citizens of Baltimore shouldn’t have expected much more since her predecessor, Sheila Dixon, had been convicted of embezzlement.) Blake’s successor, Catherine Pugh, wasn’t exactly a resounding success; she couldn’t even finish out her term and is, at this moment, sitting out her three-year prison term for tax evasion.
Of course, the mayor’s office isn’t the only entity that has been affected by corruption and incompetence. The City’s District Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, seems to have a knack for losing high-profile cases. (For example, her overcharging of the 6 police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray resulted in the complete acquittal of all of them.) As of late, Mosby has come under fire for her frequent travel on the taxpayer’s dime (23 trips in 2018 and 2019 to such locales as Germany, Portugal, and Kenya). Curiously, she has set up a travel agency (Mahogany Elite Enterprises LLC.) with the stated purpose of “…helping underserved black families who don’t usually have the opportunity to travel outside of urban cities, so they can vacation at various destinations throughout the world at discount prices.”
I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at corruption in city governments; it’s become almost commonplace. However, what does disturb me (and should disturb all of us) is how this corruption and incompetence has found its way into the school systems; especially in the Baltimore City Schools. Although Baltimore pays its administrators more than anywhere else in the nation, its schools are among the worst. In one year, 13 public schools had zero students proficient in math. Nine out of ten black males could not read at grade level. A 2021 report reveals that, throughout the entire district, the schools have an average math proficiency score of 18% and a reading proficiency score of 17%.
However, mere statistics do not tell the entire story. I recently read a story about a senior at one of those schools who had failed all but three classes (over four years) and still graduated in the top half of his class with a GPA of 0.13 (no word on what the GPA of the valedictorian might have been). Of course, that might have been due to the fact that he had been late or absent 272 days over his first three years in high school (but that’s just a hunch).
A reason for this somewhat inadequate performance (along with that of the other students) was readily explained by an ad hoc group called “Baltimore City Votes”. According to the group, wait for it; the real reason is systemic racism. And, the only solution for the situation is (unsurprisingly) “more funding”.
Perhaps some of us who do not reside in Baltimore believe that their situation does not affect us. However, this would be a mistake. A couple of weeks ago I read in our statewide newspaper (The Columbus Dispatch) an editorial titled, “Importance of learning Black history means it should never be optional”. The article had been written by Andrea K. McDaniels, The Baltimore Sun’s deputy editorial page editor. One memorable blurb from her piece read, “So when critics of the 1619 Project (named for the year African slaves arrived in the Colony of Virginia) say it is inaccurate and promotes divisiveness, they are mistaken. It tells the truth – and not what people want the truth to be.”
That editorial said a number of things to me but the most important thing was that “I’m not as concerned about the students in my city who can’t read or do math as much as I am about shoving a bastardized piece of history down the throats of every young student in the entire country.” For the self-appointed elites of our country (especially in the news media), a society of dullards is no big problem; after all, they’re more easily controlled.
Seeing all that is going on in Baltimore, I thought back to my ancestors and what they believed; “hard work is the key to success”, “work before play”, and “rational thinking”. Then reality set in; those are exactly the attributes that are today ridiculed as “white constructs”. To my chagrin, it appears that I have been a “white supremacist” from the moment my ancestors arrived in this country over three hundred years ago.
There was a novel written back in 1948 titled Cry the Beloved Country. As I recall, it was about South Africa but, as far as I’m concerned, that title is especially appropriate for what this country is becoming.Published in