Connection Between Lauren Olamina and MSNBC

Upon turning on the TV tonight, I came across the live news coverage of the current situation in Baltimore, MD. As I’m sure many of you know, there have been riots and protests there following the unjust death of Freddie Gray which was a result of brutal police actions. On the news, one of the captions on the bottom of the screen read: ” ‘Criminals’ started fire outside of library.”  I found this use of quotations fascinating, but wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it.  I immediately connected it to the reading for this Wednesday in which Lauren says in her journal: “The poor still get arrested and indentured for indebtedness, vagrancy, loitering, and other “crimes.”

Two little quotation marks change both Lauren and MSNBC’s statements drastically. The meaning in the context Lauren applies them is clear, but I am still uncertain what to make of MSNBC’s. My first instinct is to deem them progressive, a tiny rebellion of the news channel against those law enforcers and politicians calling the riots acts of crime.

But after also seeing a clip of President Obama – I am a little torn. For starting fires and burning down shops owned by innocent citizens of Baltimore seems like it is causing more harm than good and I’m having trouble seeing how those specific acts are helping honor his death as well as promote change. It doesn’t seem like protesting to me; those acts seem more riotous and out of control. But seeing as how I don’t live in Baltimore and that I didn’t know Freddie Gray and I have never been the victim of such extreme police violence, it is hard to make such a harsh judgment without being there; without being in it.

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