Michael Eric Dyson: Ravens, Orioles to Blame for Baltimore Urban Blight

Sports teams are ‘forces of oppression?’

Professional race explainer Michael Eric Dyson said a lot of stupid things on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes Monday. (Yes, it’s still on the air.) And really, that’s understandable, given that his job was to find excuses for the inexcusable violence and looting in Baltimore.

But mixed in with his litany of exculpatory urban dysfunction (“… the slow terror of expulsions from schools, rising rates of lead poisoning, the export of jobs to, uh, places across the waters …”) and awful metaphors (“it’s easy to point a gun of analysis and shoot [the rioters] with the bullets of our condemnation”) he managed to lash out at … professional sports.

Telling Hayes about the funeral for Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody sparked the rioting, Dyson said, “The Reverend Jesse Jackson, uh, delivered an, uh, analytical, uh, insight into the forces of oppression that have besieged that urban terrain.”

Jackson, Dyson said, spoke of “the ways in which the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles with their tax-exempt status and their being given tremendous goodies to stay into the city. So you’ve got the urban blight contrasted to the extraordinary accumulation of capital for some people.”

That’s some analytical insight.

The have-nots’ behavior is excusable because the haves have stuff.

First, Baltimore has been run by liberal Democrats for generations. Liberal Democrats negotiated whatever deals the Orioles and Ravens have with the city. In the case of the Orioles, they negotiated it with owner Peter Angelos, another liberal democrat. So it’s all in the family.

Second, Jackson and Dyson should talk to the thousands of people employed by the stadiums, bars, restaurants, parking lots, etc., and see if they’re bitter about the teams’ status. The mostly suburban fans who come into Baltimore and spend their money in the city would be just as happy to do it somewhere else.

But by all means, in the name of “equitable access and distribution” of capital (Dyson’s words), take away the teams’ sweetheart deals and goodies. That should be a consolation to the CVS worker who was just burned out of a job.