Geraldo, Geraldo, Geraldo (“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry”). Did you really say all this? What on Earth were you thinking. You are a nut. We all know it. Ever since that whole Al Capone incident, your fate has been sealed. You’re a goof, you and your dandy mustache. I used to believe you were a reputable, seasoned journalist. Boy, did that image tumble!
Thing is, you’re right.
This was a lunatic thing to say: “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin‘s death as much as George Zimmerman was.” A lunatic you are and you are taking a lot of heat for this statement, which if viewed from a purely observational and clinical perspective, is inherently true.
I live in Los Angeles. I take public transportation to work about 3 days each week. I realize the power of the fully worn hoodie. It is a serious signalling device. It can vary from a gangster proclamation to a rabble-rousing street urchin. In all cases it tells others that “I live a dangerous life.” The worn hoodie is sufficiently rebellious and anti-authoritarian, especially when worn at a time there is no need for such a garment. Fully draped hoodies evoke a sense of danger or threat. Full hoodie garments exude a sense of danger and when worn by the targeted minority, their sense of worn danger is magnified.
Yes, Geraldo is correct. I’m positive Trayvon Martin’s hoodie apparel did nothing to dispel the ire of Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman. As a minority, if you wear your hoodie like this, you will attract attention. Simple as that. This is a fact and it is not a value determination. It’s the simple truth. I don’t know why people are so mad at you for saying something that is transparently true. Just stating a fact does not mean you condone it. It’s a hard truth, but that is what Americans can no longer swallow. Your aspersions about hoodie wearing kids are akin to profiling. The profiling brouhaha is stupid, because it’s accurate. There are so many signalling devices hoodlum troublemakers wear or use that they mess it up for everyone else who wants to wear them as well. Back in the day when the Crips and Bloods battle was widely covered in the news and disseminated in pop culture, it was dangerous to wear blue or red in many areas. I think it’s fair to say Trayvon Martin called attention to himself with his hoodie ensemble.
Was it responsible for his murder?
No one knows this. We can’t jump to that conclusion. Perhaps Zimmerman was just demented enough that he would have killed the kid regardless of what he was wearing. Or perhaps it did draw Zimmerman’s attention. The point is, it could not have hurt for Martin to simply expose his scalp as this seems to connote an image of safety and civility. There is something primal about that fact. This is the hard truth people don’t like to hear.
It’s one thing to say a hoodie is the sign of danger, but it’s another to say it can be construed as such. The way things are versus what the way they should be can be miles apart. It’s horrible that fashion accessories can make anyone prone to attack, but this how it happens. It’s important to point out that we live in a reflexive and frightened, timid world. They teach us to drive defensively. Perhaps it’s time to teach us to live defensively. Use common sense and don’t inspire undo suspicion unless you’re willing to pay the price. We boast of our right to dress as we wish but this is foolishness. We have the right to do all manner of things that will most likely leave us bleeding to death on the sidewalk, so we don’t do them.
Geraldo is right.
The point is, he is right about a distasteful truth, and to be the messenger of bad news in our flimsy society is tantamount to evil.
Check out this ridiculous experiment.
I took of photo of myself without a full hoodie and then one with the hoodie on. I tried to keep the same expression and use the same camera settings and distance. Same ugly face, but differentiated by the presence or absence of a hoodie.
Note the psychological trigger that a fully worn hoodie triggers. We’ve been conditioned so, especially if we are the paranoid or tremulous type. Zimmerman was probably both.
We can fight our nature and act offended when the hard truth is pointed out, or we can confront it. Hood garments have long resided in our cultural memory as symbols of danger and fear and hate.
The hoodie capitalizes on that.