Blue Line. Black Death. One Single Ray of Hope | The Baltimore Riots

I value human life. We, as humans, should never lose our humanity. In the coming days, the world will recap the protests in Baltimore. Most will dutifully accept the party line. Blacks are dangerous and violent. In order to protect “good people” (the fair skinned or the privileged); at the slightest hint of dissent, they should be put down.

Our nation has been brainwashed. What was once a stereotype has been accepted as fact, and shaped a nation.

I’m American. And as an American I’m ashamed, because the inexplicable death of so many of our citizens at that hands of our police is unacceptable. Yet it has become the standard; normal.
I am also a black woman who is haunted by the reality that I live in a society with governing organizations that see chocolate colored skin as dangerous, violent, thugs; before they even consider the individual. It troubles me for my own life, and the life of my loved ones; but even more for the lives of our children and our future.Blue Line. Black Death. One Single Ray of Hope by Jennifer Dowe


That’ll be the center of the discourse around the Baltimore protestors. Blacks who are out of control. Blacks who destroyed neighborhoods. Blacks who are violent. Blacks who are dangerous. Blacks who should be feared.


The images we saw should haunt all of us. Police in riot gear, store windows smashed, people running in the streets, smoke clouding the avenues. Those scenes have been foreign to us for decades, and now it’s our world. Yes. Our world. It’s the chaos of change.


That chaos, that madness, that anger; it doesn’t just belong to the people who live in the devastated neighborhoods of Baltimore. It doesn’t just belong to African Americans. It doesn’t just belong to Americans. When travesties like this continue to happen, it’s a failure for us all. A failure of humanity.


It’s difficult to explain to a person who believes they are racially conscious that our nation, the “land of the free, and the home of the brave” has declared open season on the African American population. The United States has repeatedly sent the signal that black lives matter less. We’re more expendable, and our deaths are natural casualties for societal improvement.


The looting was wrong. The destruction was wrong. The violence was wrong. Yet, so is the systemic, biased violence of the Blue line that causes black death far too often against the chocolate colored Americans of this “free” nation.


Free. Free to say, “We need to do better”. It isn’t wrong for people to stand up, to protest and to demand change. It’s not just right; it’s necessary.

Violence is not the answer. But the world is starting to pay attention.

Anger and unrest exploded because the plight of our children, the plight of African American children in the United States of America is being ignored. Innocent children. Even guilty children who weren’t given the opportunity for their day in court.

Society has grown accustomed to seeing “yet another black child murdered in an exchange with the police”. The rage into our communities exists because such tragedies should NEVER be allowed to be the standard.


The violence came about because our world needs change. And when you feel as though you have no other weapons, your voice and your violence become the loudest.

Here are four truths you should take home.

All police officers aren’t racist.

All African Americans aren’t violent.

All Caucasians aren’t innocent.

All of this problem isn’t confined to Baltimore.

The lives that were lost, the people that have been hurt, the children that have been slaughtered… that’s on all of us, because it’s our duty to make it change. Make the violence stop. Demand change.

Real questions. Real change.

What can we do? How do we help change happen?

REMEMBER YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE ON PEOPLE – The destruction in Baltimore was alarming and devastating. We have yet to know the price of all the damage, but the destruction of our neighborhoods, our homes, our businesses is catastrophic. Nonetheless, all those are THINGS — human life is more valuable.

KNOW THAT REVOLUTIONS RARELY COLOR INSIDE THE LINESLook for the deeper meaning in the movement. Words like “dangerous” and “thugs” have been used relentlessly over the past week. Violence is scary, and it has real consequences. Beyond the rage, destruction, and the violence the message is that it’s time for us to put REAL focus on REAL issues.

The violence abolished apathy. The gray area evaporated. The world is demanding you pick a side; that you pick the side of change.

IF EVERYONE IS SAYING THE SAME THING THEN NO ONE IS TELLING THE TRUTH — Sweeping generalizations don’t give you an accurate picture of events. The truth is seen from multiple perspectives, without varying perspectives all you read is bias.

Not all protestors were violent. Not all protestors were assaulting the police. Looters, vandals, and attackers did not share just one skin color, but that’s all you heard.


Not all police are racist. Not all police conducted themselves in a nature becoming an agent of the law. Not everyone could balance the restraint, skill, and strategy that is necessary to be an exemplary police officer.


STAND UP TO STEREOTYPES– You may think they’re funny. Or harmless. Long held stereotypes are the lens by with the world receives these views of “black danger”. The result? Racial profiling that caused too many of our chocolate colored children to meet an untimely end.


It’s not funny. It’s tragic.

STOP TUNING OUT– You’re guilty. Or someone you know is. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, someone somewhere in your hemisphere has heard about the atrocities happening in our nation and said —I wish we could just get over this already.

Wishing won’t help. Do something. Speak out. Be heard. Share your opinion. Demand change. Hold people accountable. You don’t have the luxury of “tuning out”, because your family could be next.

DON’T FORGET OUR FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS – We’re accountable for the world we leave the next generation.

It’s time for us all to step up, and bring back humanity. It’s time to do better.

Photo by A Katz via Shutterstock

Jennifer Dowe

Jennifer is a Do Better-Change Maker dedicated to empowering women to live a lifestyle of constant growth and personal development. Fixing is her superpower, which she yields as a writer and transformational coach. Her happy place is filled with fix-the-world conversations, Smartfood popcorn, and Talenti Gelato; concisely presented at