On Monday, May 21, Kimberly Moffitt, assistant professor of American Studies, was a guest on the Marc Steiner show to respond to comments by Maryland State Delegate Pat McDonough on “mobs of roving black youth” in downtown Baltimore. McDonough was also a guest on the show.
“My attitude is that either Baltimore is going to overcome crime, or crime is going to overcome Baltimore,” said McDonough, arguing that his use of “black” in the context was referring to the specific individuals engaged in the crime and not Baltimore’s African American population as a whole.
“We could have easily said there’s concern about youth mobs, or concerns about young people in the Inner Harbor, but that’s not what we heard. What we heard is a very specific group of people, and by doing that we target that group of people to suggest that they are the only problem,” Moffitt responded.
“When we characterize black youth mobs, the reality is that it ends up not indicting not particular individuals but indicting an entire race of people,” she said. “There’s a goal that we all have to want to reduce crime… but what I hear when I hear some of the solutions [suggested by McDonough] is more about surveillance of black bodies and controlling them and containing them because they are seen in our society as villains, as criminals… I don’t hear that these are young people who might be misguided and need some other outlets.”
The full segment can be heard here.