Saturday, September 12, 2020

It Still Matters

Good morning, Columbia/HoCo. I’m currently working on a long-ish piece about this week’s BOE meeting and it is making my brain hurt. With any luck it will be ready to post tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I highly recommend this piece by Colin Campbell on what Hogan’s cancelling of the Red Line did to the communities it was meant to serve:

Five years later, many across Baltimore bitterly lament Gov. Hogan’s decision to kill the Red Line Light Rail - - Colin Campbell, Baltimore Sun

This is excellent, thorough local journalism. The evidence presented shows that Hogan’s priorities have never been aligned with the people who the Red Line would have benefited. After the cancellation of the Red Line, Hogan:

...returned $900 million in federal funding and shifted $736 million of state money to roads in the surrounding, predominantly white counties.

This piece is particularly relevant in light of candidate Kimberly Klacik’s claim that Republicans have plans to get Black Baltimoreans to work. How, exactly, when Republican state leadership killed the biggest thing that would have enabled them to get to work?

By halting the Red Line, Hogan engineered an “explicit and blatant transfer of economic investment from Black communities to white communities,” [NAACP] Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill said.

An undercurrent in this piece is empathy. Who has it? Who doesn’t? What happens when people in positions of leadership are unwilling and unable to put themselves in the shoes of others who are far different than they are? What are the long term effects of continuing to invest in projects that benefit whites at the expense of cutting programs that benefit Blacks? 

Think Red Lining in residential real estate. Think the outrageously skewed G.I. Bill. Think the Red Line light rail. This is systemic racism. 

This is what happens when white people in positions of power choose to be far removed from those who are different than they are.  The most normal thing in the world for them is to bolster their own whiteness and view the lives of Black constituents as “other”, unworthy of investment. 

More than anything, my take away from this piece is a deep sadness for the community members who worked so hard for so long only to have their work come to naught, their hopes shattered. 

What happens to a dream deferred? 

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