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Baltimore and the language of change
Baltimore and the language of change

For the last half-century, invoking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn or explain black urban uprisings has been a mandatory exercise. Recent events in Baltimore are no exception. Critics say that destroying property and attacking police desecrate King's ideals and draw attention away from constructive, peaceful protests; looters and “thugs” are blamed for derailing the “legitimate” path to justice. To defend (though not condone) spontaneous rebellions, others trot out King's remark that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” Whatever King might make of the fact that some Baltimore residents reacted violently to Freddie Gray's...

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