People don’t kill people; hoodies kill people.
Well, this is a new twist on victim blaming. Usually we’re busy telling women not to wear such short skirts, or not to get too drunk lest they get raped. Now, apparently, we’re telling black and Latino youth not to wear hooded sweatshirts because it might-could get you shot in the chest by some lunatic vigilante who has a problem with those “assholes” who “always get away”:
GERALDO RIVERA: Well, 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.
JULIET HUDDY (guest-host): What do you mean?
RIVERA: When you, when you see a kid walking — Juliet — 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 they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Uh-oh.
RIVERA: It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you’re gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him? That’s an automatic reflex. Juan wasn’t defending it. He was explaining that that’s what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place.
When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin’s you know, god bless him, he’s an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that — that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.
DOOCY: What about the fact that — I mean, the people of New York, a couple of nights ago, they had a “Million Hoodie March.” You’re not helping.
RIVERA: You can not rehabilitate the hoodie. You’re not going to — I understand that the reaction might be overzealous or even irrational in some extent, I mean, when you look at the statistics. It may be. But you’re not going to rehabilitate the hoodie. You’re not going to —
DOOCY: Just stop wearing it.
RIVERA: Stop wearing it! Don’t let your kid — you know the old Johnny Cash song, don’t take your gun to town, son. Leave your gun at home. There is some things that are almost inevitable. I’m not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately, I think unless it’s raining out, or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home. Don’t let your children go out there.
There is so much fail in Rivera’s comments, one hardly knows where to begin.
It doesn’t matter what you are a wearing. You have a right to walk in your own neighborhood wearing whatever the fuck you want without getting shot.
Whether it was raining or not is irrelevant. Whether Trayvon was returning home from a track meet or not is irrelevant. (And really? A track meet?)
Millions of people — black, white, Latino, male, and female — wear hoodies. They’re comfortable. I have a hoodie sweatshirt dress that I practically live in. I’m wearing it right now. And it’s above the knee. ::gasp:: So I guess when I leave the house with my hoodie dress on, I’m just begging to be shot and raped. Is that it?
Mr. Rivera, you are an unconscionable asshole and you should apologize to Trayvon Martin’s parents for your insensitive comments, and you should go ahead an apologize to humanity for existing.
UPDATE: Geraldo couldn’t stop digging:
So now he’s not just blaming Trayvon for wearing a hoodie, he’s tsk-tsking Trayvon’s parents for not understanding the risk of being a kid of color. You see, if only they’d had Geraldo Rivera’s sage words on “the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America” then maybe they would have raised Trayvon differently. It’s just so damn sad that Geraldo has to be the one reminding black parents how to raise their kids, isn’t it?
I swear, this fucking guy…
[via Media Matters][cross-posted at ABLC]