Social media has been ablaze with talk of the Baltimore riot. What I find astounding is the large number of Social Justice Warriors condoning or celebrating the acts of violence being committed by these rioters.
Assuming that the Baltimore police officers are guilty in the death of Freddie Gray, how is attacking innocent 3rd parties making it better? The excuses I’ve seen SJWs use to justify the violence include “Well it got your attention,” “Righteous cause,” “Retaliation for systematic racism,” and “This is the only way for people who have been institutionally oppressed to express themselves.” I find this victim mentality to be the most close minded, especially because it’s usually accompanied by accusations that “we don’t know what it’s like,” with suggestions of “white priv.”
“Victims of systematic racism?” (Their mayor is a black woman, by the way). “Victims of institutional oppression?” REALLY? Hey, Public Service Announcement: Of all the voices saying “You can’t,” the loudest is the one in your head.
I’ve been to Baltimore. Outside of Inner Harbor and its posh restaurants and upscale shopping centers, and the other touristy areas, the city is in bad shape. The fancy Underarmour corporate complex is surrounded by decaying row-houses. While driving through the city, I observed a custom ubiquitous to economically depressed neighborhoods: the TV trope of people hanging on the stoop.
I never understood the lifestyle of “just hanging out.” Of course, social interaction is healthy and necessary for proper development, but above a certain level, if that’s what you do all day, it’s just a massive waste of time. In my formative years, I didn’t have time to “hang out on the stoop.” School was a joke, but I was too busy with homework (by which I mean pages of math problems my parents gave me to do at home), SAT prep, chores (both of my parents worked multiple jobs as poor immigrants), my paper route, and/or team sports.
When I did have time to hang out, I quickly got bored of the same ol’ same ol’. I preferred to read. Grisham, Crichton, Stephen King, Frank Herbert, Jack London, Steinbeck. I voluntarily read “Grapes of Wrath,” because I felt that my high school not making it mandatory was depriving me of a full education. Aside from the mental stimulation and knowledge accumulation, if nothing else, all that reading was good practice, and propelled me grades ahead of my peers (note that I had immigrated here in the 1st grade without knowing a word of English).
Economic mobility starts with education , and education starts with the self. Liberals often accuse the educational system as being rigged against the impoverished, favoring the affluent in better school districts. But it really starts with the student.
In Chapter 9 of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success,”  he referenced a study tracking academic performance of students from different economic strata, coincidentally in Baltimore. Not surprisingly, students from wealthy families were much higher academically achieving than their impoverished peers. But unlike most academic studies that only tracked year-end results, this study took measurements at both the start and end of the school year, and it revealed something interesting.
Poor students improved MORE than the rich students DURING the school year, but tended to regress over vacations, while the students from affluent families would progress, or at least regress less, while on break! This indicated that the schools didn’t fail the poor students’ education, rather their life outside of school did. The major contributing factor? The affluent students read when not in school. The poor kids spent their time hanging out on the stoop.
When I take the subway or buses, I’d often see kids reciting entire rap albums word for word, and I can’t help but think what they could have achieved had they redirected that mental energy! As someone with poor memory, I envy those kids. If they can memorize an entire Kanye album in a week, why can’t they memorize the periodic table? Oh what I could accomplish with their memory! Wasted talent, time, and energy. Once again, it starts with the self.
The institution isn’t oppressing these people. They’re oppressing themselves by refusing to climb the economic ladder. If they want to break the cycle, they have to stop victimizing themselves.