Corey Parker Robinson and Andre Royo. (The Wire, HBO)
My first encounter with the city of Baltimore was through David Simon’s HBO series, The Wire. I knew nothing about the city until the series aired in 2002, but its opening scene set the tone for five seasons of grappling with the hard truths in a struggling great American city. Detective Jimmy McNulty arrives at the location of a dice game turned homicide. Interviewing a witness, he learns that the victim, Omar Isaiah “Snot Boogie” Betts, habitually participated in — then robbed — the weekly dice game. McNulty wonders why, if everyone knew he would rob the game, they let him play at all. The witness responds, “Got to. This America, man.” The lesson was simple: America is a land of contradictions, not opportunities.
If I hadn’t grown up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, itself a hotbed…
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