If Baltimore were not in the United States

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A few days ago, The Washington Post published a curious speculative analysis conducted by journalists about what major Western media would have reported about a situation such as the one created in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, on the wave of unrest created by the death, on April 19, of the young black US citizen Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.


From the perspective of the journalists who made the analysis, if what is happening in Baltimore were happening in any other country, this is how Western media would have covered it:


-Many international analysts would have predicted the seeds of a so-called “spring” such as that which emerged in some Middle East nations. They would have praised the protests by young people mobilized via social networks.


-International government leaders would have expressed their concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in the country where these events were taking place. They would have condemned the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and corruption in the state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality.


- London would have released a statement calling the country’s regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of ethnic minority groups. It would demand equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of all citizens, black or white. It would blame the local government for jeopardizing a healthy democracy.


-The United Nations would have issued a declaration: “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in that country, and we strongly urge the state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of the victim in police custody. There is no excuse for excessive police violence.” The U.N. would also have called the government of the nation to make a concerted effort to make records of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system.


-International human rights groups would have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for the ethnic black minorities of the country where the riots caused by the murder of the arrested citizen were taking place.


Of course none of this would apply to the government in the case study, if the events had taken place in the United States. But in fact, the events are taking place –have taken place many times in the past, and nobody doubts they will take continue taking place– in the United States.


A different kind of analysis was published by The New York Times awhile before. It emphasized that 1,500,000 African Americans have been missing from US everyday life in a recent period. More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old has disappeared from daily life by premature death or incarceration.


According to the last census conducted in the United States, homicide is the leading cause of death among young black men.


The United States has the highest number of prisoners in the world. With just 5% of the world's population, the US has 25% of the world´s incarcerated population. Of the 2.3 million prisoners in the US, nearly 40% are African-Americans. African-Americans represent only 12.6% of the US total population.  It is six times more likely for a black man to be imprisoned than for a white man.


The United States is the developed nation with the biggest gap in economic inequality between rich and poor. Inequality of wealth is even greater than income inequality.


A mere 3% of the wealthiest families own more than the combined wealth of the 90% of the families with fewer resources put together. This gap has steadily widened since the last years of the 2oth Century until today.


Black families in the US were the most affected by the banking crisis when the housing-predatory-loans bubble exploded in 2007.


By the end of the twentieth century, the average white family in the superpower had a wealth six times that of the black family. Today, the average white family has twelve times more than the average black family, and sharp economic inequality continues to increase.


These disparities are dramatically reproduced in the causes of unemployment which affects the citizens with white skin so much more.


May 6, 2015.


- Manuel E. Yepe http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann. http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs4364.html

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