Posts Tagged ‘hoodie’

Culturist, not Racist

Posted by Troy on 25th March 2012 in Current Events, Writing

Geraldo Rivera has come under fire for saying that Trayvon Martin’s hoodie is partly to blame for his unfortunate death.  This goes back to what I have always said.  We are culturists, not racist.

If you see a man coming down the road in a white hood and gown, you are going to assume that he is a member of the KKK.  For all you know, perhaps he is an actor going to a gig where he is playing a KKK member, but you are going to assume that he is a KKK member for a couple of reasons: 1)  Why would he dress up in such a fashion to say to all the world that he has ill intent if it were not true?  and 2) It is far safer to assume that he is a KKK member.  The same would fall true for a white guy wearing a swastika or carrying the Confederate flag.  Living in the South, I know many people who are proud of being from the South and like the Confederate flag who do not strive to lynch any blacks on the weekends.  So that brings us to the question of the hoodie.

Hoodies are a convenient, warm garment.  You can quickly cover your head and help keep yourself nice and warm while outside, and, upon entering a warm building, remove the hood so that others can see your face.  Unfortunately, gang members and other criminals have also figured out that it is a quick disguise and very legal to wear.  As such, when they are about to rob a store, all they have to do is pull up their hoodie, and most of their face and hair is instantly hidden.  If coupled with a bandanna around the neck (to lift and cover the mouth and nose), a near perfect disguise is in effect.  This concept has been conveyed in the nightly news and movies.  As such, when people see someone in a hoodie, they assume they are up to no good.

If Trayvon had been wearing a suit, would Zimmerman felt the least bit threatened?  What about a nice polo and khakis?  As I mentioned before, no white guy in his right mind would ever consider wearing a KKK outfit, even in jest.  So why is it that black youths do not understand that how they dress affects people’s perception of them?  That is to say, if you dress like a thug, people will assume you’re a thug.  This argument offends people, right up there with saying that a rape victim invited trouble by the way she was dressed.  People should be free to dress how they like and say whatever they like and be friends with whoever they like without people rushing to judgement, but the fact of the matter is that they will be judged.  This is one of those cases where ideology does not match with reality.  For once, I agree with Geraldo, and I applaud his guts to say something so unpopular as the truth.  As my dad told me, telling people the truth will never make you popular.

People are much more afraid of the clothes you wear than the color of your skin.  If Trayvon had been wearing a polo and khakis, he’d still be alive.  It may be tragic, it may be unfair, but it’s true.