About this hoodie thing
A lot of people have gotten up in arms about Geraldo Rivera’s comments about hoodies and the Trayvon Martin killing. If you really look at what he said, though, it’s really not that controversial. Here are his words:
“I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as much as George Zimmerman was.” (Ref)
Okay. Now let’s compare that to one of the issues that has really gained traction along with this story: that Martin was possibly targeted because of his race. For example, here is Tourè on the subject:
Black maleness is a potentially fatal condition. I tell you that not to scare you but because knowing that could save your life. There are people who will look at you and see a villain or a criminal or something fearsome. It’s possible they may act on their prejudice and insecurity. Being black could turn an ordinary situation into a life-or-death moment even if you’re doing nothing wrong.
So many have made the argument that Martin was unfairly targeted by the color of his skin. Rivera remarked that he was unfairly targeted by his choice of clothing. The difference, of course, is that it’s very easy to change your style of outfit – but not your skin color.
So why the outrage? People glanced at Rivera’s quote and assumed that he meant Martin was partially responsible for his own death. Of course this isn’t the case, just as Martin wasn’t responsible for his death because he walked outside at night while being black. The point of Rivera’s comment was not that Martin was responsible for his own demise. His point – as he has clearly stated – was simply that it might be safer not to wear a hoodie at night because of the way people (unfairly) associate it with criminal conduct.