Reading Between the Lines
Recently, I got the Aug. 13 issue of City Paper, and as always, I was deeply disturbed by the way white writers at City Paper constantly give the mostly white bigoted readers of City Paper some satisfaction about the darkies in the “jungle Black communities” in Baltimore, and the Black criminal monkeys who commit crimes in Baltimore City, the county of Baltimore, and the entire state of Maryland.
As an Afrocentric feminist, I read the article by Van Smith (great writer) about the young Black man Guy Jackson who was removed from Shock Trauma, interrogated in a police station, and released on the street with his hospital gown and feeding tube dangling from his stomach (“Shot and Seized,” Mobtown Beat). This case alone should be tried in an international criminal court in the Hague.
Then, I read the article “Murder Ink” by Edward Ericson Jr. (another good writer), but most of the crimes are about Black men doing criminal deeds. I know damn well that there are white men doing crimes and killing people in Baltimore. You won’t know that truth reading “Murder Ink” each week.
In my opinion, if you create poor Black communities where there are no jobs, and no housing based on a person’s total income, you get the crime you deserve.
After Michael Brown’s assassination (my opinion) in Ferguson, Missouri, I have had it with this police state in America, with its most bigoted white “low-level intelligent” police officers, and some “don’t give a damn” Black police officers who do not realize that they are some “privileged stool pigeons” for the white race, and the political system of white supremacy.
In her book, “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” Dr. Frances Cress Welsing has written: “Indeed, if the understood threat to white genetic survival was the Black male’s genital apparatus, consciously or unconsciously, the white psyche would be compelled to produce a weapon of defense of comparable or greater power than that of the Black male’s penis and testicles.”
I would like for all Americans, especially City Paper readers, to read the following books: “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” by Hill Harper; “Debating Race,” by Michael Eric Dyson; “Going to Meet the Man,” by James Baldwin; “We Charge Genocide,” edited by William L. Patterson; “Dear White America,” by Tim Wise; and “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander.
There is a lie going around in America by white conservatives, and liberals in the Democratic Party as I hear it, that “Blacks are prone to do you harm, to kill you, to take your valuables, to steal from you, and to not like your conservative Jesus.” In my opinion, it all boils down to one thing: your vinegary penis or vagina envy, ‘cause yours ain’t working. Free the mind.
Larnell Custis Butler
Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market and Baltimore’s Lexington Market may have things in common, but they differ in location (“Market Value,” Mobtown Beat, Aug. 3). It’s great Reading’s general manager is working with Lexington Market and Maine-based Market Ventures also is a consultant. However, the market needs to hear from customers like me. I love Lexington Market and shop there frequently. Unfortunately, the place leaves much to be desired.
I’ve been told Lexington Market and the surrounding area is a nexus for fencing stolen goods. And I’ve heard the place is a hotbed for selling illicit drugs. Once when I was having a cup of coffee on the second floor, three cops dragged off a guy in handcuffs. Another time when paying for a jar of fresh horseradish, I was warned to be careful when paying in cash, as it could be snatched. (Incidentally fresh horseradish is no longer available at the market.)
Lexington Market does have a schedule of live entertainment and other community-oriented events which are fun. Years ago, Weight Watchers met in one of the upstairs rooms—that was important to me when I needed to take off some pounds. However, management must reach out to the Baltimore community. For example I tried to help with this year’s Lunch with the Elephants event when the circus was in town, yet the reception I received was disgraceful. One might think Lexington Market would welcome anyone wanting to volunteer on a project, but they couldn’t be bothered to answer my letters or return phone calls.
I shop the local farmers markets and am amazed how popular they’ve become. If you sell something people want, they will show up. Take a look at the Saratoga Street farmers market on Sunday—it’s packed. Lexington Market management needs to follow this model if they want to succeed. Right now the place is full of fast food joints and trivia vendors. It will cost millions to upgrade our Baltimore icon so the folks of Baltimore should consulted too. Why only seek advice from Maine and Philadelphia?
Rosalind Ellis Heid
From the web, Facebook, and Twitter
The current Lexington Market is more likely to prey on poor people than to serve their needs. The market and surrounding area is a great place to buy junk food, prescription drugs, heroin, cheap Ravens gear, and knockoff jewelry.
It’s a bad place to find a job, healthy food, professional clothing, a cell phone, or most of the goods and services that people need to live middle-class lives. To find any of those things, you need to travel to the Inner Harbor, Canton, North Baltimore, or the Baltimore County suburbs.
Redeveloping the Lexington Market neighborhood shouldn’t mean replacing drug dealers and junk food stalls with expensive coffee and overpriced takeout. It should mean cracking down on crime (including violent crime) and bringing in the stores, shoppers, employers, and investments that will allow the neighborhood’s residents to find the jobs, safety, goods, and services that they need.
—“dan.baxter,” Sept. 3
I’m with Dan: we need to stop romanticizing the awfulness of Lexington Market. Reading Terminal is a good model. As the author notes/glosses over, it’s a real melting pot of city dwellers of all stripes and tourists. Only the most fervent devotee of ruins porn would regard it with disdain. Pain in the ass to get produce there on a Saturday, but I suppose it’s a victim of its own success.
—“jo1980,” Sept. 4
As long as the Berger stand (super nice people there) and the $2 breakfast stand and I guess Konstant peanuts stay, I’m good with everyone else closing.
—“MarklinFoster,” Sept. 5
God bless them.
—“Adeseye Aires,” Sept. 3
Heartbreaking...please let me know how I can help.
—“Lisa Landsman,” Sept. 3
This article was not long enough, and it was shallow. I was hoping for more.
—“Suzannah Kolbeck,” Sept. 3
As always, Rafael’s has the gift of making the reader feel like they are right there with him and wishing they too knew or had the experience of meeting the “characters” he writes so reverently about.
—“Bette Householder,” Sept. 5