I suspect it is mostly a NYT-writer-kind-of-fabulism on display, but it is worth reading. The underlying basis for a civil society is a civil society of shared values. I get the sense that the place this man comes from is a society that doesn't share any of the values of mine.
The wasteland described by D Watkins is not confined to Baltimore. What he described is what every major city I have ever lived in has at its core; Oakland, Baltimore, Washington, DC, New York, LA, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland. In every case, someone has piled every single bane of civilization on the people that live there. One foul blight after another has contributed to an endless parade of misery, poverty, illiteracy, dependency, violence, and soul destroying inhumanity.
The time is not that far when some clever soul will discover a way to imperson a machine with all the writings and teachings and facts known about a man, such as Martin Luther King, Jr, and then ask it what it thinks of the current situation on the ground in America. Just by looking at the pictures out of his time and era I can be sure that the machine would be appalled and then turn about and quest in vain for who spent the last 60 years doing this to American citizens living in the greatest cities of the world.
I think that some people did deliberately create the society we see today. Callous people with enormous power created every step of the path that led from the signing of the Civil Rights Act to the complete destruction of the society and people that occupy the core of our major cities today. All of this didn't happen without detailed planning and a whole lot of effort to make things fall apart in just such a way that leaves almost no way out.
In all the years I spent in the military I met a number of people that did make it out of places like Cabrini-Green but altogether they probably amounted to less than 1% of the people living in such places. As the Armed Forces grow more selective, fewer and fewer can even begin to qualify to enter the Armed Forces. I know, we are told to never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but looking at what happened to people like the author of the link above, I think it must be malice to make so much of the society that we enjoy, fail for those at the heart of our cities.
As I said at the beginning though, it may be that all this was launched on the basis of another pack of lies brought to us by another Blair. I don't believe it, but it could happen. Stranger things have.