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    Posted May 2, 2015 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Baltimore protests

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    My Perspective on Black America and Baltimore as an 18-Year-Old Baltimorean


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     amaramaj shares her point-of-view of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. "While it's disheartening to see our city being destroyed, I always keep in mind that beyond the apparent violence and anger, there's pain and a longing for equality," said the high school senior.
    - AmandaJTX, CNN iReport producer

    With just under thirty days until my high school graduation, the surrounding atmosphere is pregnant with this unshakeable hopefulness for what is yet to come, a sense of dread at the mere prospect of sitting through grueling three-hour long AP examinations, sadness and reluctance to let go of lovers and long-time friends, and a persisting feeling of anticipation for the start of beautiful beginnings beyond the realms of our beloved Baltimore.

    Of course, the sentiments listed above can be applied to any group of high school seniors; these are broad, general statements. It is the anger, the feeling of injustice, and the zest for attaining this abstract concept known as equality that is unique to my high school graduating class.

    In the midst of mentally preparing myself for departing the comfort of my parents’ home and creating a new life in the unknown lands of Providence, Rhode Island, it never fails to strike me as odd that people are repeatedly asking me what it is like to live in Baltimore the way one would ask what it’s like to live in Afghanistan. It astounds me that trending hashtags on Facebook have unceremoniously morphed from Patrick Dempsey’s character on Grey’s Anatomy to demands for equality in Baltimore. The sense of injustice that has infiltrated my heart makes me feel peculiarly nostalgic of my sentiments towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the summer of 2014; I felt that regardless of how many innocent Palestinian lives were taken away, the media and we as a global society continued to portray an exceptionally partial view of this complex conflict by criminalizing Palestinians.

    A part of the problem lies in the fact that we as a society oversimplify and underestimate the complexity of any given problem. The media scrutinizes the havoc that the riots are creating without ever attempting to understand the motive for this violence, without analyzing why these individuals feel the way that they do. Humans very rarely act out of pure irrationality; there is almost always a reason for why individuals act the way that they do, and it is critical in this particular situation that we come to understand this. This isn’t to say that we should justify riots and ruthless acts violence; rather, we must examine the situation holistically in an effort to eradicate the problem at hand.

    After their ancestors had for centuries been subjugated to dehumanization, inequality, and oppression, it never escapes me how extraordinarily ignorant it is for society to so cavalierly dismiss the anger of African Americans to be baseless and unjustified. If we truly have become so indifferent to the struggles of the black race that it is simply beyond the parameters of our collective comprehensibility, then kindly allow me to translate: every time we as a society perpetuate this incredibly flawed ideology that black lives matter less than white lives do, we are essentially regressing into history and halting the advancement of modern society. By hardening our hearts towards the oppression of African Americans, we are failing to validate the pain they have endured throughout history, the persistent sense of inferiority that people of color are consistently branded with.

    Every time we turn our heads away without acknowledging the apparent inequality existent within the infrastructure of American society, we are embodying white privilege—we are representing an anachronism; we are propagating this resistance to change, inertia: an unchanged America.
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