In your article on Friday, "Baltimore City Councilman under fire for attacks on Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank," (Feb. 3) several Baltimore officials expressed disappointment with Councilman Ryan Dorsey's comments about the Port Covington agreement with Kevin Plank's Sagamore Development. Later, Councilman Eric Costello called on Mr. Dorsey to apologize in a Baltimore City Voters Facebook group. We, the undersigned, stand in support of Ryan Dorsey and his comments. He has nothing to apologize for.
In this Neo-Confederate Age of Trump, Baltimore remains a city which is racially hyper-segregated and still littered with both Confederate and segregationist monuments. It is not Ryan Dorsey who needs to apologize for speaking truth to power. It is the defenders of white supremacy, our profit-maximizing white business interests and regressive black political elite class who should be the ones apologizing. They should be apologizing for doing nothing of note to stop the intensification of racial segregation and racial wealth inequity. They should also apologize for:
•Lead poisoning rates that are higher in some black Baltimore neighborhoods than in Flint, Mich., and an ongoing poisoning crisis that demands we declare a state of emergency.
•Tax increment financing deals in white communities that have caused our majority black public schools to lose around $75 million over a three-year period.
•A police and prosecution budget that's more than twice as high in fiscal 2017 than the budget for health, housing, arts and parks combined ($513 million vs. $249.7 million).
•A police force that was proven to engage in a pattern and practice of racist and abusive enforcement against black residents and neighborhoods.
•Keeping our Housing Choice Voucher residents from living in the white communities.
•Promising to do things differently after the 2015 uprising but passing a massive $660 million Sagamore TIF that doubles down on the segregation that was and remains a root cause of racial inequity.
These are the current empirical manifestations of white supremacy in Baltimore. Black neighborhoods are systematically redlined and face structural disadvantage while white communities are consistently greenlined and procure structural advantage. Therefore, it is the purveyors of Baltimore Apartheid who should apologize! They are the ones who effectively robbed our Freddie Grays and Korryn Gaineses to enrich and subsidize development for developers like Michael Beatty and Kevin Plank. We demand that they, the purveyors of Baltimore Apartheid, apologize and start producing racial equity in Baltimore City.
Kevin Plank may be worth $3 billion or more, but he is not beyond critique. Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool, who signed the first racial zoning ordinance in the history of the United States into law, reveals the limitations of good intentions. As he told the New York Times back in December 1910 regarding the ordinance:
"It was passed, not in the heat of prejudice or passion, but after calm, judicial consideration and determination; it was passed because those in whose hands lay the power to pass it judged that it would bring the greatest good to the greatest number. It was not passed in a spirit of race antagonism; most of us concerned in its passage are the best friends the colored people have..."
Here, Mayor Mahool defends the intentions of those who passed white supremacist policy. Good intentions have little to do with white supremacy. White supremacy is a hierarchical arrangement consisting of policies and practices that structurally advantage white people and communities while structurally disadvantaging black people and communities. Black people with lower incomes do not have the power in their hands to undo a system that has been operating for over 106 years.
Hence, we the undersigned oppose white supremacy and Baltimore Apartheid in all forms. We oppose people, policies and practices that double down on racial segregation and ignore the 1968 Fair Housing Act's injunction to affirmatively further fair housing. We must pursue a course of desegregation — of residential living and wealth — so that Baltimore can achieve its potential as a dynamic global port city.
Lawrence Brown, Baltimore
The writer is a member of the Baltimore Redevelopment Action Coalition for Empowerment Facebook group. The letter is co-signed by: Jonathon Rochkind, Aimee Pohl, Richard Crary, Dana Polson, Baltimore City Green Party Co-chair Andy Ellis, Kflu Kflu, Annie Sommer Kaufman, Graham Mooney, Allyson Mattanah, Alex Haworth, Aimee Evans Hickman, Molly Porter, Aimee Harmon-Darrow, Roop Vijayan, Ian Schlakman, Marc Shi, Ricarra Jones, Gretchen Tome, Leslie Kopchinski, Demetrius Marcoulidas, Larry Cohen, Fred Scharman, Jason Harris, Shantay Guy, Michelle Barrow, Monica Tung, Christopher Abbas Mehdizadeh, Brian Francoise, Sharon E. Moore, Jesse Schneiderman, Shawn Key, Jakob Dennis, Jamie Neith, Sarah Michaels, Quinn Lester, Reagan Hooton, Jodie Zizow-McClean, Corey Payne, Alec Kipnes, Teresa Groesch, Daniel Whatley, Jishnu Guha, John McMinn, Maura Dwyer, Stefanie Mavronis, Ian Bukowski, Joshua Harris, Krista Strothmann, Esther Kang, Juda Adashi, Sumbu Alam, Nina Kasniunas, Heather Hax, Rebecca Pobee, Kristen Hoffmaster, Vitaly Lorman, Ronald Riddick, Roshelle Kedes, John Sussman, Sergio Espana, Lea Gilmore, Priya Bhayana, Matthew Yake, Nathan Dennies, Lola Pierson, Lee Connah, Kristi Demnowicz, Claudia Balog, Brett McCabe, Ryan Flanigan, Jamyla Bennu, Maggie Villegas, Lisa Savage, Pierre Bennu, Alex Lohrbach, Joseph Evans, Petula Caesar, Mark Brock-Cancellieri, Lisa Bleich, Eva Wingren, Caroline Berger, Stephanie Larson, Claire Ruberman, Ben Yeagar, Megan Kenny, Andrew Gaddis, Lane Frazee, Katherine Watson, Eva Fury, Victoria Cross, Erin Fostel, Micaela Gramelis, Michael Hanes, Michael Lynch, Holly Mirabella, Barbara Ogden, Bethany Henderson, Courtney Gardner, Valarie Perez-Schere, Shawn Key, Suzanne Lebovit, Trish Garcia-Pilla, Erin Stamos, Kirby Allen, Barbara Larcom, Nicole King, David Chapman, Melissa Schober, Todd Cherkis, Charly Carter and Chris Steward.