User Name
Pass Word:


Baltimore thoughts
Previous | Next by ben 27 November, 2006 - 6:44 AM

Pardon me while I get serious for a moment. Baltimore has a problem, I think, and I also think that it's something we need to talk about. Racism in this city is something that everyone knows is there, but no one does anything about. We couch it by saying there are dangerous neighborhoods, safe neighborhoods, but really that's not what we mean. There are mixed areas (Patterson park, for one), and mixed schools (City, where I went, was 85% black, and about 6 or 7% White, with the remainder being Latino, Asian, and Other - i don't even know what that meant), but not many; the debate on why, and how to fix it just doesn't seem to be happening. I love this town, and I think I want to stay here, and I think this shouldn't continue to be a problem. So my shower thought today was about starting a weekly (or so) web cast to talk it out, and actually come up with ideas on how to fix the problem. It would be a simple format, I talk, read and respond to emails... unless my brother hooks me up with equipment, i probably couldn't take phone calls, but that would be something to think about. So I'm tossing this out to the crowd... what do you think? Am I cracked? Has Ben finally lost it, or do you think it's a worthwhile endeavor? Dream of dreams, people actually listen, and changes actually happen, but I'd just like people to question their own viewpoints, and maybe actually make Baltimore the "greatest city in America" like all of our bus stops tell us it is.

Today's shower thought brought to you by: Speed Racer

11/27/2006 >> muhgcee

I'd watch it. You going to make it a downloadable video?

But also consider other options on how to change the city. Politics/activism, etc.

11/27/2006 >> ben

indeed, i'd be hoping to get people to write in with that kind of stuff. i think also, to start with, it would just be audio. i don't really have the setup (other than a crappy web cam) to make a video, hehe

11/27/2006 >> xtheowl

ben - I think it's a great idea
muhgcee makes a good point, too...
the foundation of revitalization is often pure economics...take Canton as a micro-example for the whole city

11/27/2006 >> ben

indeed, though there are those that argue that without a helping hand, the (mostly african american) people that live in the worse neighborhoods are getting pushed out of the city, or have to turn to drug dealing or other crime in order to be able to afford to stay where they are (SoWeBo, for example, where people are rehab-ing homes and raising the property value all over...). how would we deal with this problem?

i came to the idea of doing a podcast type thing because i believe that's the most effective method i could muster - not being one for politics or activism, personally. however, i do promote that for others...

11/28/2006 >> n0manarmy

This is why i've got my site, to blog about all the crazy wacky stuff going on around this wacky but awesome city.

Back on topic though and this is all purely theoretical and my own opinion. Baltimore is changing from the industrial mostly immigrant and African American city that it was to a college/research town. This transition started in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Detroit couldn't hold on to the transition, probably because it was too entrenched in it's industry, especially with the automakers being there. Pittsburgh...I'm not so sure how they lost it. Baltimore had a ton of open industrial real-estate that was prime for destruction and rehabitation, also with Maryland's high land value and the desire for a lot of people not to pay DC prices for housing there was a prime opportunity to redevelop. Also, with all the colleges in and around Baltimore there's good research development and money that's now coming in to the city.

This is good and bad though. All the "trash" is being pushed out to the suburbs and all the income is coming back to the city to live the city life.

The line that I was told that best describes it is that "All the poor folk saw how much fun the rich folk were having in the suburbs and all the rich folk aren't sticking around for them to ruin it."

11/29/2006 >> Dan

I'm confused I see very little racism in the city. but I do see a large amount of class-ism in the city.

Yes, the long time residents in the formerly undesirable now desirable neighbourhoods are upset. their property taxes are going through the roof. Throw in a hefty BGE bill this winter and you have a bad situation brewing.

But this has noting to do with race. There are poor black and white families feeling this pinch. From Hamden, to SoWeBo, and Belair Edison. Its all over.

The only way to stem (not fix) the problem to to put a yearly cap on property tax increases.

I'm all for the idea of a round table. But this should be in a more community forum where those on the other side of the great technological divide can provide their input.

12/7/2006 >> bomtrown

As you know, Ben, one of the key steps in process innovation is to get the most accurate picture possible of the current situation before thinking about strategies for improvement and Baltimore doesn't do that very well when it comes to its little racism problem.

Baltimore could learn from cities and towns where racism is not such an issue. I would like you to address what other cities and towns have done with their racism. That way, you could get ideas into the mix about strategies for dealing with racism.

T. Brown

12/8/2006 >> ben

that... was brilliant! thank you!

product of baltimore public schools my friends!

You must be logged in to comment.


This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Kheiligh. Make your own badge here.