This weekend’s misinformed, racist tirades made it clear that Donald Trump doesn’t consider Baltimore part of his America. The Baltimore President Trump sees is a racist caricature of urban blight. It is useful only as fuel for 240-character grenades lobbed at public servants who dare to call him out.
The Baltimore we see is something else entirely.
The Baltimore we see is filled with people of enormous resilience in the face of institutional abandonment, people who have persevered despite generations of racist redlining, chronic disinvestment, discriminatory policing, and political corruption.
Despite all of Baltimore’s historic and ongoing challenges, the Baltimore we see is a national leader in minority entrepreneurship, with rising graduation rates and test scores, and community-based movements like Baltimore Ceasefire, which has organized violence-prevention weekends resulting in a 60% drop in shootings. It includes a diverse population in which 24% live in poverty and 76% are working-, middle-, and upper-class.
In word and deed, President Trump has proven time and time again that he doesn’t give a damn about our city. If President Trump cared about the people of Baltimore—people he has sworn to represent—he would not relentlessly attack immigrants, he would not demonize people of color, he would not have abandoned promises to invest in urban infrastructure, he would not have appointed inexperienced cronies to head the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, and so many other things. We join people around the country in calling out this hypocrisy and vindictiveness.
It was heartening to see people step up with pride to defend Baltimore in response to President Trump’s attacks, but it’s important not to paper over Baltimore’s very real struggles with photos of the Inner Harbor or Camden Yards. Indeed, the Baltimore we see faces significant challenges—and it’s filled with people working day-in and day-out to address them.
At Open Society Institute-Baltimore, we work with and serve those people every day. And we will continue to spread the word that the beauty of Baltimore is nothing like the ugliness of President Trump.