Two Americas collide in a mini-mart: Anand Giridharadas’s rousing talk at TED2015

TED Blog

Anand Giridharadas speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, Session 5. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED Anand Giridharadas speaks at TED2015 – Truth and Dare, Session 5. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Anand Giridharadas brings us to a Dallas mini-mart on the night of September 21, 2001.  That night, a man named Mark Stroman walks into the store with a gun. He didn’t want money; he wanted blood in retaliation for September 11. He shot the Bangladeshi immigrant working at the counter, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, in the face.

Raisuddin lived; Mark ended up on death row for the crimes he committed that night. And in the collision of these two men, Giridharadas sees a parable of two Americas — perhaps not the two as they are usually defined.

To understand this story, we need to know both of these men’s histories. Raisuddin had been in the Air Force in his home country before leaving to find greater opportunity in the United States, and was working in the mini-mart to save up for I.T. classes. When he was shot, his fiancé left…

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