Patt Morrison for March 29, 2012

Has public dialogue about Trayvon Martin’s death helped or hindered race relations?

Trayvon Martin Rally in Downtown LA

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Anthony Davis (center) sells shirts with Trayvon Martin's image and gives the proceeds to Martin's family in Florida.

The national conversation about race in America has been reignited by the controversy surrounding the killing of Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, but it is unclear whether the nature of the discussion has ultimately been constructive or destructive. Black civil rights leaders have cited the incident as evidence that America has not moved past systematic racism and wonder why it takes an incident of extreme violence to bring attention to such serious social issues.

Wearing a hoodie has become a popular symbolic gesture to protest presumed injustice in Martin’s case and has even involved U.S. Representative Bobby Rush.

Does this show of solidarity constructively contribute toward moving public discourse about racism forward?


Has the course of events following Trayvon Martin’s death provided a fair and helpful platform to discuss race in America or have we become mired in disparaging turmoil?


Eric Deggans, media critic at the Tampa Bay Times

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