By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
With leaders from all sides of the political spectrum coming together and calling for a Grand Jury investigation into the senseless slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin, surely there has to be one wacky voice. And who better than Fox & Friends contributor, Geraldo Rivera. On the show, Rivera recently blamed Martin’s hoodie as the culprit for the fatal attack:
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.
Rivera had opened the bidding with an equally inane column styled, “Trayvon Martin Would Be Alive but for His Hoodie.” There, after deriding low slung pants, he admonishes parents to take the hoodies off their kids too, imploring them, “don’t let your child go out into the hard cruel world wearing a costume that is really a sign that says ‘shoot me.’” Fleece as fomenter? Really?
That stupidity brought immediate comment from the saner and hipper side of the planet. “i didn’t even know geraldo still did stuff ppl listened to. damned if i listen to him now. but
#BEATEMDOWNhoodies ARE on sale for $25,” media personality Bomani Jones tweeted. “Dear Geraldo Rivera: I’ll use small words so you can follow me, okay? Hoodies don’t kill people. Paranoid racists with guns kill people,” tweeted Wil Wheatonof Los Angeles. “That’s like saying Martin should not have left the house while being Black. As the Million Hoodie marches emphasize, there is nothing inherently devious about hoodies. It’s our culture’s racist stereotype for “suspicion” that makes hoodies worn by people of color — not soccer moms or Anderson Cooper — an act that could be met with violence,” journalist Kristen Gwynne wrote on AlterNet.
With President Obama saying that if he had a son he’d look a lot like Trayvon Martin, and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both calling for a Grand Jury inquiry into the matter, and calling the case a “tragedy” and a “horrible case,” respectively, Rivera looks like an old gum-shoe newsman looking for a story and some notoriety.
Clothing manufacturers must have thought the same thing. American Apparel, who makes the popular outerwear, noted its product is bought by “every type of person you can imagine—pink hoodies to toddlers, black and navy hoodies to businessmen and successful entrepreneurs, as well as plenty of college students of all backgrounds and everyone else in between. We even sell hoodies for dogs.” Creative Director Marsha Brady (no, not that Marsha Brady) added, “To say that this classic garment implies that its owner is a dangerous criminal to be ‘feared’ is absolutely ridiculous. We’re incredibly sorry about the young man who was shot while wearing one, and feel very strongly that oversimplifying the discussion by criticizing the victim’s clothing does the country, Trayvon Martin, and all those who support the end of crimes such as this one a massive and dangerous disservice.”
So it seems the journalist who brought us the underwhelming mystery of Al Capone’s vault on live TV, and who regaled us with wild claims about a million Satanists lurking among us and raping children during secret rituals, now finds himself saddled with another self-inflicted wound.
Blaming a hoodie for a shooting? If that’s true, innocent African-American kids and other hoodie affectionadoes like New England Patriots football coach, Bill Belichick, had better look out.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger