Baltimore has endured some of the most influential and proactive riots of this year since the police have been targeting young black men, the latest of whom was 25-year-old Freddie Gray. While rioting may or may not be the answer, it helped The Game reflect back to the Los Angeles ’92 riot after the Rodney King verdict. The Game wrote a provoking op-ed piece in Billboard about his youth, being a part of history and how it may not have been the best idea considering the fact that non-peaceful protests doesn’t solve the issue, but instead helps add to the killing or arrests of more of the African-American community.
Read an excerpt of his lengthy thoughts below:
I witnessed and was a part of the ’92 riots in Los Angeles, and you know the damage that did — not just to Los Angeles, but Watts, Compton, South Central and those areas. That happened when I was 11 years old. I remember looting and throwing bottles and jumping on bottles, jumping on police cars and just being angry. At the moment, it felt great. I felt like, you always hate the police for whatever reason. It all seemed cool for the moment, but now I’m 35. Looking back at what we did as a collective, a young black collective, we ruined our own neighborhood. Those stores which were in our neighborhood were no longer there and the other stores were 5 to 10 miles away, and it crippled our parents to have to venture out even further. I feel like we’re seeing the same things happening in Baltimore.
I’m not there [in Baltimore] to gauge the balance between now and the ’92 riots, but I understand the anger. I understand people wanting to be heard and being tired and fed up. I feel what happened to Freddie Gray was just another reminder of the neglect of the African- American youth in America and us as people. Look at how long we’ve been victims of the world. From slavery, from not being able to vote, up until our children. Young black men in general are targets. People [are] using unlawful force to take our lives. We’ve seen kids shot [and] beaten. We’ve seen everything. At the end of the day, we get fed up.
I’ve watched CNN the last few days, and they’ve called those kids “thugs” and “animals.” Everybody’s not a thug, man. We’re calling these young black kids and our youth “animals” and “thugs,” and it makes them more angry. We’re doing that when you’ve got thugs and animals that are police officers, firemen [and] congressmen. In Jeezy‘s voice, you’d call that “corporate thuggin’.”
The last time there were riots in Baltimore were in 1968 when Dr. King was killed. It’s not like people are walking out of their houses on a regular Tuesday or Wednesday and setting buildings or cars on fire. It’s always in a state of unrest and people are tired. I’m not taking away from any other race, white or Latino, but I’m talking African-Americans, just black people in general. The struggle and strive of black people just to get to an equal level. I’m not talking about Obama being in office [because] that’s amazing. That’s great. It’s another item we’ve accomplished; it’s something we can put on the walls and in the history books. But that’s minute compared to the struggle we’ve fought just to be looked at as an equal race for hundreds of years.
I haven’t posted anything on social media because when it was Ezell Ford or Trayvon Martin and I spoke my piece and made posts, people got ignorant in the comments. I had to defend my posts and I didn’t want to do that this time. Social media can be a drive for negativity, and I wanted to wait until I wrote this letter in order to get my point across. You’d be surprised at the people you are friends with, or were friends with, and the views they share. It may make you want to disassociate yourself with somebody.
Read the rest of the piece here.
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