Boys in the Hoodies
Geraldo Rivera is catching the full-fledged ire of the politically correct community. Why? Because he had the audacity to say that Trayvon Martin, the young black man whose death has caused a massive social outcry, was killed because of… wait for it… his hoodie.
On Fox News, Geraldo said:
I am urging the parents of blacks and Latinos, particularly, to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon’s death as George Zimmerman was.
Blogger Erik Wemple admits that he “hoped it all a brilliant audio-video Internet hoax” for Geraldo’s sake. After all, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the throngs of people congregating in Sanford, Florida, and millions of tweets all say that he was killed because he was black.
I find it entirely impressive that accomplished attorneys like Jonathan Turley can declare the examined evidence “murky,” yet the motive and events have been clearly deciphered by rabble-rousers whose expertise lies in street-confrontation spectacles. But I will admit that it’s ridiculous to claim that an article of clothing is as responsible for the death of this young man as Zimmerman is, having pulled the trigger and fired the fatal shots. So Geraldo missed the mark there. But to suggest that the hoodie is a big part of why Trayvon Martin looked suspicious and was isolated as a possible threat? That’s just common sense.
Last year, thanks to the flash mobs in American cities and the riots in Britain, the hoodie solidified its place as the trademark attire of a criminal in the cultural eye, however unpleasant that may seem to some. So strong, in fact, had the correlation become between wearing a hoodie and being a vandalizing, sometimes violent young criminal that it prompted the mayor of Philadelphia, the site of rampant flash mob activity, to beg the city’s youth to “Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull up your pants and buy a belt because no one wants to see the crack of your butt.”
The truth is, in contemporary terms, a teen wearing a hoodie has become as recognizable a sign of a criminal as a bandana over the face of a bank robber in the Old West. Therefore, it is entirely plausible to believe that the hoodie itself was one of the reasons Zimmerman became suspicious in the first place.
Of course, none of this is meant to absolve Zimmerman of his actions, which, in a court of law, could be found criminal and punishable. What I take issue with is the fact that this instance is being used to play into the narrative that there is some sort of widespread institutional racism in America, where young black men and women are preyed upon by prejudiced assailants.
I cannot say that Trayvon’s race was not among the factors that led Zimmerman to become suspicious of him. But I can certainly say is that there is not an epidemic of white criminals targeting blacks for violent crimes. If anything, that trend seems to operate in the opposite fashion. According to Department of Justice figures, “black criminals choose white victims 45% of the time, while whites victimize blacks 3% of the time. More than twice as many whites are murdered by a black than cases of a white murdering blacks.”
But such facts don’t stop the assumptive racial implications in Trayvon’s tragic death. One of the voices spouting these loose assumptions is left-wing radio host Joe Madison- the “Black Eagle.” He claims that Sharpton and Jackson are “role models” who “came to “protect” Mickey Mouse- another “very important citizen of Florida.” “A little black fellow that wears white shoes, and he’s got big ears,” Madison said, describing the classic cartoon character… “Hell, if he had been wearing a hoodie, he would have got shot,” Madison said. “Mickey Mouse would have got shot.”
Clearly, this is a joke. But did he just verify that it was not Martin’s race alone, but the hoodie that caused him to be isolated as a threat? I wonder why he hasn’t been lambasted as Geraldo has.