My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe – Geraldo Rivera via Twitter
We live in a country where one 20th century motto was “the clothes make the man.” It’s advertising, but it’s apropos.
See any episode of “Mad Men.”
However, put the hoodie on a white kid and George Zimmerman doesn’t take the shot, because he’s likely not watching him.
But let’s not kid ourselves or be overly pc about this.
Cultural stereotypes pervade our country, with the Young Black Man In A Hoodie Must Be A Thug one of them.
Now widen the lens.
Look at what Pres. Obama has had to endure in a suit and tie, with the trappings of the White House and the voting populace electing him. Yes, America finally has our first African American president, but he’s paying the price for the privilege every day.
Rivera was asked if he’d retract his statement and he said “absolutely not.”
From Politico, who got the quote:
Asked whether he would take back his earlier comments on Fox News in light of the criticism, Rivera told POLITICO in an email, “Absolutely not,” while citing his recently published column on Fox News Latino called, “Geraldo Rivera: Trayvon Martin Would Be Alive but for His Hoodie” that makes the similar arguments that the Fox News host made on the air.
Good for Rivera.
The conversation we’re now having about the hoodie and the prejudice surrounding cultural style versus the stigma attached to it by individuals who don’t understand anything beyond their own world is important.
But let it not divert us from the racism at the heart of this act, made actionable by the N.R.A.’s “stand your ground” campaign.
You’re not going to convince me that George Zimmerman would have stood down if Trayvon Martin hadn’t been wearing a hoodie. It’s just as likely Zimmerman would have interpreted a non-hooded Trayvon as acting strangely as he tried to duck and dodge Zimmerman who was clearly stalking him with felonious intent fueling his vigilance.
But is Geraldo Rivera wrong to warn his son to watch what he wears when he goes out? Love him or hate him, respect him or not, my guess is Rivera knows something about bigotry and racism, so his words are informed.
We don’t have a prison population of non-whites for no reason and it’s not just because of criminals needing to be incarcerated. It’s because our justice system has never been color blind, because it’s fueled by a society founded with slavery.