Racism and the hoodie

The Trayvon Martin story — he’s the kid who got killed for no good reason in Florida — has reached the “I’ve got nothing left to write, so I’ll just write something stupid” phase that many national issues reach.

The barometer for this is Geraldo Rivera, who blames the fact the kid was wearing a hoodie:


Remember when my friend and colleague the estimable Juan Williams got fired from NPR for saying that Muslims formally garbed freaked him out at airports? Juan is among America’s sharpest commentators. He wasn’t justifying his reaction, he was copping to it. Maybe shock therapy or a semester of sensitivity training could change it, otherwise It is what it is.

No one black, brown or white can honestly tell me that seeing a kid of color with a hood pulled over his head doesn’t generate a certain reaction, sometimes scorn, often menace.

When you see that kid coming your way, unless you specifically recognize him you are thinking ghetto or ghetto wannabe high-style or low-brow wise-ass. Pedestrians cross the street to avoid black or brown hoodie wearers coming their way.

Because this is a teachable moment let me speak plainly.

Whatever Reverends Sharpton and Jackson say in Florida Friday, after listening to the 911 tapes and hearing the witness’ testimonials, I believe Trayvon Martin would be alive today but for his hoodie.

What Rivera doesn’t acknowledge, however, is this: You don’t get to kill people because you’re afraid of them. You don’t get permission to shoot people because they dress like someone else who you don’t like. So, no, his hoodie didn’t get the young man killed.

Here’s an interesting picture that’s sweeping the Internet today.

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Are you “suspicious” of them?

Check the picture “below the fold”


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(Photo: NewBlackMan)