Watch this video. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Beutler spend a fantastic hour using Brian Beutler's experience being shot to talk about fear.
The fear they speak of is in multiple veins: the fear of a community outsider (whether racially outside or economically outside) as well as the fear of a member of a broken community. I can't possibly recap the conversation, but the bottom line is that we talk about the fear of the outsider, and at the same time, that same fear is hidden within that community, under the surface.
And as it pertains to gangs, it is fascinating to talk about the fear up until the age of about 15 that Coates describes, of young folks who don't know yet know how to integrate into their community. Up until high school, we have the chance to offer them a different way, and that fear is what we have to address. That's the core of the issue. The fear of those who live in a broken community.
And of course, on that drum I will continue to beat, I think this is a fantastic example of the conversation we need to be having in this country; a Charlie-Rose style conversation, where the goal is to understand and not to convince. This is also the conversation that President Barack Hussein Obama called for, way back when we were upset about Reverend Wright.
UPDATE: The moment after I hit that "publish" button I finished rereading my last post about this "conversation" and saw the words:
"More, America. We need more discussion."
I'd just like to say that in this important discussion about race, it needs to be held together. One man banging off a post about race and then another person banging off another post about race is not what we need. We need two (or more) people in a room, confronting themselves with each other.