Guns Don’t Kill People – Hoodies Kill People

Hack “journalist” Geraldo Rivera has a history of making an ass of himself on the teevee. I’m sure we all remember the gigantic fizzle that was Al Capone’s vault. Well, Geraldo’s at it again. He has, once more, firmly nailed his “I AM A HACK, NOT A JOURNALIST” flag to the mast, this time on the March 23, 2012 episode of Fox and Friends, by absurdly blaming Trayvon Martin’s death on his clothing, a hoodie sweatshirt:

“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was,” Rivera said on Fox and Friends. “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta—you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant, reflexive action.”

This assertion is 100% absurd, and only a hack masquerading as a journalist would say such a thing. The hoodie is ubiquitous all over the world. I’m a 57 year old white woman – and I regularly wear hoodies because they’re a comfortable and practical item of clothing. Everyone I know, old, young, black, white, male, female – we all wear hoodies. Somehow, I can’t see myself as a “gangsta wannabe”- I just want to be comfortable.

Geraldo Rivera’s blame-the-victim-style assertion actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual item of clothing Trayvon was wearing when he was shot dead by cop-wannabe George Zimmerman. Geraldo’s assertion that the hoodie was responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death is racist codespeak for the purpose of perpetuating the sinister meme that young black men are dangerous thugs and gangstas out to prey on decent (white) people.

By all accounts, Trayvon Martin was a fine young man, a good student who loved his nieces and nephews. If he was white, he would be considered a sterling example of American youth, but, according to people like Geraldo Rivera and the rest of the rightwing mouthpieces at FOX and on conservative talk radio, Trayvon was a dangerous thug wearing his gangsta uniform – a hoodie – and was on the prowl to rob, steal or rape decent (white) people on that rainy night in February.

What happened to Trayvon Martin on the night of February 26, 2012 was a terrible tragedy.

What makes this pointless murder even more of a tragedy is the pervasive and sinister undercurrent of racism present in Geraldo Rivera’s ridiculous assessment of Trayvon as a gangsta. Mr. Rivera’s statement about Trayvon being a “gangsta wannabe” had nothing whatsoever to do with Trayvon, the human being, a bright and well-adjusted 17 year old high school student with a bright future who loved his family, but had everything to do with the fact that Trayvon had dark skin, and therefore, according to the racist meme, he must be a dangerous gangsta, and his hoodie simply confirmed that “fact.”

We need to take a long hard look at racism in this country. It is an unspeakable horror that in America, thanks to the flames of race-based fear fanned by the conservative right, the cult of gun ownership and to dangerous NRA-backed laws like “Stand Your Ground,” it is open season on African-American men, young and old. How terrible and frightening it must be for the parents of every young black man in this country to see their sons walk out their front doors and into a world where racists are armed to the teeth and just waiting for some punk to “make their day.”

The death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman is a teachable moment. Let us not waste it.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Blame the Hoodie? Walking while black with a hoodie, punishable by death?? Have we come to this???
    GIVE ME A BREAK. Hey, the poor kid was running in the rain …..and being stalked …….and ….I’M SORRY…but we don’t ALL use Totes umbrellas when going to the corner grocery store for a snack. NOR should we risk losing our very lives while doing so! Mr. Rivera: you should be ashamed of your inane, insensitive comments about Trayvon’s death, and your attempts to create “excuses” for the inexcusable actions of judge-jury-and-executioner George Zimmerman (…AND…those that would imitate him). We are becoming a society that seeks and sees threats under every rock; a frightened society that sees danger with every “other” that is not just like us;  a manipulated society with control-freaks running rampant (whether politicians or mayors or police chiefs or individuals). Power-hungry people that are only too eager to take advantage of our fears; that are only too willing to get away with anything and everything that they can, as they deprive us of our our liberty (and sometimes our lives)…..all in the name of defending it. What a shell game. But were it only a game. For it includes the worst provisions of the Patriot Act, the police spying on innocent people, “papers-please” and stop&frisk gone wild, the “right” to indefinitely detain Americans without trial, and out-of-control homicidal vigilantes such as we have tragically seen here. It’s a serious, slippery slope… one that ultimately leads to a police state/Orwellian mentality that is more typical of places such as China or Cuba – NOT the America that I know and love. We USED to stand proud and free, and contrasted our open society to such sorry places. Now we imitate them. Our country is better than this. Our values are better than this. WE are better than this. Don’t blame the hoodie……blame what we are becoming, and allowing, and doing as a society. As Shakespeare once said: the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves: For we have come to accept things that should NEVER be accepted by a freedom-loving people. It’s time… it’s way past time, to reverse course. Let bring some good out of this tragedy…. and work to never let it happen again. You DO have the power, my friend. USE IT.


  2. If I were to ever see George Zimmerman in public, I’d have very reason to believe my life is in danger. He’s a known trigger-happy vigilante who has shot another human being in cold blood. Since this person is clearly a threat to me, could I use the same law to shoot him?


  3. Posted by Ellie on March 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Who knew that a grey-haired, Medicare card carrying, old white lady like me was really a gangsta wannabe? I thought I just liked hoodies. So if some trigger-happy loon shoots me, he won’t be arrested because I was walking while wearing a hoodie? How long has it been since Rivera was a real journalist? Ever? BTW, I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m very happy with the discovery.


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