Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Killing Of Trayvon Martin | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

The Killing Of Trayvon Martin | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

I caught this on NPR today...chilling in so many ways.  Early on, James McBride insists that Trayvon Martin was another victim of our culture of fear...panic buttons on car keys, gated communities keeping the riffraff out, SUVs and Hummers.  Fear draws its lifeblood from a clearly feared 'other': in America, the person of color, maybe the illegal immigrant, often the black man, usually the young black kid wandering the neighborhood at dinnertime.  No matter that we've elected an African American president, says James McBride, we've got fear in our DNA.  Hey, what makes Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck so popular?  They speak directly to it.  Fear sells.  And it killed Trayvon Martin.

And that kind of fear doesn't go away by accident.  Nor does it evaporate in cheery good will and American triumphalism.  Institutions, schools, cultural communities, artistic communities: all of us have to play an active part.  The young man who shot Trayvon Martin did not come to be frightened and angry and agitated all by himself.  It takes a village.  And it'll take a village to undo what's wrong in America.