Consider this the requisite “Geraldo blames hoodies” post. When I first heard of this remark yesterday, it sounded so ludicrous I thought Geraldo must be joking. No, Mr. Al Capone’s Vault was serious in his speculation.
I have a different take, Brian, on that. I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.
When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off. People look at you and what’s the instant identification? What’s the instant association? Its crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stick up a 7-Eleven, the kid is wearing a hoodie.
There’s discussion to be had as to whether or not the witness account and Zimmerman’s story of self defense, thus justification for Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, is credible; I myself have heard audio of Zimmerman’s discussion with the 911 dispatcher where he at one time said he was in pursuit of Martin and the dispatcher told him to stop. Pursuit doesn’t translate to self defense because your life is in mortal danger. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Florida’s gun laws; rather the problem lies with discovering the facts of this particular story.
That being said, I find Geraldo’s remark tone deaf. I get that dressing a certain way invites certain judgment — judgment, not death. A hoodie doesn’t necessarily translate to “thug,” either. Evil is evil and it doesn’t discriminate by dress. Some evil people in the headlines wear designer suits and wing-tipped shoes. It’s appearance above character and it signifies a greater sickness in our society: how easily we judge based on appearance.
The sad thing about this story is that the hysteria surrounding this case will make it nearly impossible to discover the real story while other stories just as, if not more horrifying are ignored. Let’s see how much of a hardcore hustler Al “Reverend Freddie’s Fashion Mart” Sharpton is and send him to President Obama’s backyard to protest the injustice of the 10 deaths, 39 wounded in last weekend’s Chicago gang shootout. Or have him rally the citizens on behalf of the elderly couple, married for 65 years, who were brutalized in their home — or defend the 13 year-old set on fire by a gang of youths. I wonder how much of this was caused by “hoodies” as opposed to just plain selfishness and ignorance.
By attributing value to appearance, Geraldo is committing a common liberal sin. Outward appearance (unless you’re a hooker wearing next-to-nothing but lucite heels, working the sidewalk as your peepshow walkway) isn’t always the best indicator of character.