Fear of the 'other'

Published August 3, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Re "America's Original Sin," George Pyle column, Opinion, July 28.

"There's nothing I'm afraid of like scared people," wrote Robert Frost in "The Hundred Collars."

Racism is one element in the Travon Martin/ George Zimmerman tragedy. But rather than a uniquely American sin, racism is an aspect of a larger, perhaps even universal failing: Xenophobia. Xenophobia is in turn a product of fear: Fear of the "other."

In this respect, George Zimmerman is a figure at least as tragic as Travon Martin. Both Travon Martin and George Zimmerman had a fateful encounter with the feared "other."

Lives governed by fear are impoverished lives. We then live, as W.H. Auden wrote, "Children afraid of the night/Who have never been happy or good.

S. Deon Henson

Salt Lake City