This post is a warning to brace yourselves sistren for a year of 1000 think pieces about the Black women of Baltimore and ouselves. Seek shelter immediately. Invoke muting on Twitter and adjust your Facebook stream preferences. The armchair psychologists and underemployed journalism grads will be busy. This might be worse than the Michelle Obama Think Piece Apocalypse of 2007-2008. ( I had to launch a separate site just to keep up)
“Newton’s law 2014: for every thinkpiece, there will be an equal and opposite thinkpiece.” Rurik Bradbury as Professor Jeff Jarvis
Underemployed journalism grads gotta eat so you’ll just have to suffer through the next 1000 or so articles about the Black women of Baltimore that captured the media’s gaze. There will be repeated attempts to extrapolate these women’s individual circumstances into proxies for all of Black womanity.
We have the beleaguered, yet apparently well-coifed Mayor.
Then there’s the irate/scared ( depending on your agenda) Toya Graham, beating her 16 year-old son about the head. And boy oh boy did Black folks trot out their views on corporal punishment with that one.
We saw a brief glimpse of Major General Linda Singh who was in charge of the National Guard deployed in Baltimore. If you have not read her story, you should.
We capped the week with State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Loretta Lynch who?
I actually heard Mosby on the radio before I saw her, and thought she was a 55+ year old prosecutor. I was off by 20 years. Folks are already placing Mosby in the White House or the next Shonda Rhimes telenova.
And there’s Sgt. Alicia White. If she’s smart, she’s already hired an excellent lawyer and publicist - she’ll need both because Mosby was literally born for this moment.
Again, who they are and what their actions mean depends on your agenda. And if your agenda is paying the student loan bill, then that requires a think piece.
If you’re pro- riot ( something far too many upper middle class keyboard warriors are) then Toya Graham was an agent of White supremacy because she didn’t want her son being shot or dragged off to jail. Mind you none of these multiple degree-having Black folks cheering on rioting have sacrificed so much as a tall mocha latte to contribute toward bail or legal representation of the rioters they cheered on - it’s just entertainment to them after all. Nope, Tweeting doesn’t constitute having skin in the game. Tweeting while standing in the middle of a riot is another matter. Most of these folks were sitting at the house watching Netflix on one screen and hashtags on another.
If you were anti-riot ( something far more Black folks are than represented by media), Toya Graham was a proxy. She was doing what you wanted to do.
If you were pro-riot, then Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, was a sellout and an agent for “Da Man,” but in a majority Black city, who is Da Man? She called the rioters thugs. She apologized. She imposed a curfew. She asked the governor to send in the National Guard.
If you’re the now homeless senior citizens who’s affordable housing burned to the ground or one of the Black businesses that were damaged, then the mayor was representing your interests as a tax paying citizen. Yes. yes. I know pro-rioter factions don't believe property damage actually impacts people's lives in any meaningful way...my point is, not everyone feels the same way.
Marilyn Mosby, gave one of the best press conferences by an elected official I have seen in a minute. As a political junkie, it was iconic - right up there with Barbara Jordan at the Watergate Hearings--- okay, that's a bit much, but it was up there. Don’t know if she can prosecute a murder case, but she’s an amazing public speaker.
I almost forgot Sgt. Alicia White. Mosby charged her with manslaughter and assault. Her bail was set at 350,000 and she faces decades in jail.
I probably won’t be able to resist ridiculing the 1000s of think pieces about Black women that are going to be triggered by these five women over the next year as poor beleaguered freelance writers try to up their word counts and page clicks to pay the cable bill.
You can expect to see dozens of essays and analyses in the coming months. They will dissect these women’s hair ( they already have) their clothes, their relationships, how they fix their faces when they speak, their eyes ( my friend swore up and down that Mosby rolled her eyes constantly - I didn’t see that), their decision-making, and most of all, their “loyalty” to whatever agenda the freelance writer is peddling.
Never forget: your life is not a think piece.