Citylab, July 30, 2019: In Trump vs. Baltimore, no one is winning
Over the weekend, President Trump took to Twitter, repeatedly, to attack Congressman Elijah Cummings and the predominantly black district of Baltimore City that he represents. He described Maryland’s “rat and rodent infested” 7th District as a “very dangerous & filthy place” and declared that “no human being would want to live there.”
Here in Baltimore, we were forced to defend ourselves. Locals launched the hashtag #WeAreBaltimore, urging others to share photographs and stories about our tourist attractions, our neighborhoods and our community activists and musicians. What started off as repudiation of Trump quickly became an open love letter to the world about our city.
It was incredible and heartening to see how quickly people leaped to the city’s defense. But even as the number of tweets supporting Baltimore overwhelm the ones denigrating us, it still feels like a Pyrrhic victory. In the end, we’re wasting our time engaged in a war of words with a president who does nothing to change the racist policies that have long gripped the city — and, indeed, seeks to exploit the city’s woes for political gain. Photographs and feel-good stories won’t provide more funding for our schools, bring more jobs or end the decades-long impact of lead paint poisoning on our children.