Searching for Whitopia by Rich Benjamin

I met Rich Benjamin  several years ago when he visited Moscow  as part of research for his book, Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America.  In Friday’s New York Times, he blames “the gated community mentality” for the conditions that led to the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.  Benjamin writes:

The rise of “secure,” gated communities, private cops, private roads, private parks, private schools, private playgrounds — private, private, private —exacerbates biased treatment against the young, the colored and the presumably poor.

He suggests that blaming Martin’s death on race overlooks the climate of privatization that made it possible for Florida’s “stand your ground” law to be applied in the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood in which Martin was killed.

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