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I Hate Hoodies. And No, My Name Ain’t Geraldo Rivera.

April 3, 2012

A few weeks ago, I posted about the killing of Trayvon Martin, the case with which most of us in America are familiar by now. This killing was and continues to be a terrible scenario, and I spoke about my pain over this situation, and the need for Black people to know our history in this country.

But if you go back and read my post, I didn’t say anything substantial about the hoodie that Trayvon was wearing that night. I didn’t defend that item of clothing. And you know why? Because I think the championing of the hoodie as a symbol of racial profiling is misguided.

For the past few weeks, I’ve  looked a pictures of folks in their hoodies, which is how they shared their solidarity with Trayvon Martin. And I’ve felt as if folks have looked askance at me, because not only haven’t I shared a picture of me in a hoodie, I’ve openly talked about the fact that I won’t be wearing a hoodie in the first place.

Just last night, I had a young girl—no older than twenty-five—call me out in the most disrespectful, harsh ways–ways that one should never talk to an elder– for my supposed “pettiness” and my being “bourgeois” when I posted on Facebook and argued that we needed to be honest with young Black men about the fact that the hoodie was not a great item of clothing for professional advancement. That young Black men wearing this clothing weren’t going to walk into a job interview and come away with employment and as a result, economic power.

Over the past few weeks, people on Twitter also have implied that I just don’t care about Trayvon Martin’s death, or implied that I have accused Black people of being stupid simply because I’ve told them that, instead of being caught up in the moment of the hoodie, they need to read and educate themselves (by going to the library) on the long history of racially profiling African American men in this country.

Can I ask you something? When did it become a crime for a Black English teacher to, like, tell somebody else Black that they needed to read a book? Because that’s what I am. I teach in the English department of a university, okay? I read, write, and teach books for a living, y’all. My twitter handle is “@blklibrarygirl”. Get it?

And then, of course, in the middle of all that, there has been the hullabaloo over the comments of Gerald Rivera, who argued that the wearing of hoodies of Black and Latino youngsters—males—is a justification for racial profiling. If this were eighteenth-century Boston, Massachusetts someone would have tarred and feathered that man and paraded Rivera in the streets. People have been so nasty and frankly, frightening, that Rivera retracted his statements.

But let me say what I have been wanting to say for the past couple of weeks, but have been too afraid to do so, lest my (admittedly much, much smaller) group of followers online do the same thing to me as Rivera had to withstand. He might have had wrong motivations for saying what he said about the hoodie and how he said it, too, but at the end of the day, the hoodie does a mixed message, sometimes a wrong message. And that’s why we need to be careful about conflating that particular item of clothing with racial profiling of young, Black men.

Yes, I said it. It had to be said.

Let me be very clear. Trayvon Martin did not have any responsibility to rethink his clothing that fateful night that he walked to the store to buy his candy and his iced tea.  Trayvon was an American citizen and he was child of American citizens and they are the children of American citizens and so on and so forth. American citizens do not have the responsibility to show their identification papers to someone who is not a police officer while walking in their own neighborhoods.  This is not 1850 and we are not living under the Fugitive Slave Act, okay?

Trayvon had every right in this world and the next one, too, to wear his hoodie. He was doing nothing wrong in the least. But  it’s not that hoodie that caused Trayvon to be stalked and killed by George Zimmerman.

Trayvon was stalked and killed because of racial profiling. That’s it, plain and simple. And, quite possibly, he might have been stalked and killed because George Zimmerman might not be all there mentally, though that remains to be seen. The hoodie had nothing to do with it.

And further, the hoodie is not always a great item of clothing.  You can call me names for saying that, you can leave mean comments below, you can say whatever you need to say to me. But you know what you can’t do?

You can’t show up to the bank and get money from a teller wearing a hoodie over your head. Why? Because your face is obscured.

You can’t go through airport security wearing a hoodie over your hear. Why? Again, because they don’t know who you are. Sometimes, I’ve even been asked to take off my glasses at the airport because I wanted to be cute in my driver’s license photo and I didn’t put them on for my picture. And in that case, you know I can’t be wearing a hoodie.

And further, you can’t take your driver’s license picture wearing a hoodie over your head in the first place.  And you know why? Because sometimes, criminals of every race, creed, religion, gender, and color actually do wear hoodies to commit crimes.

They wear hoodies to rob people. They wear hoodies to come up behind folks and shoot them dead without being recognized.

As someone pointed out to me last night online, the mock-up picture of the Unibomber pictures him wearing a hoodie. The Unibomber, y’all? The Unibomber? Do we really want to connect that handsome, sweet, beloved boy Trayvon Martin with the same item of clothing worn by the Unibomber? Think about that for a second.

Did Trayvon Martin commit any crime? Of course not.

Did Trayvon Martin have a right to wear anything he wanted to that was in his closet? Of course he did.

Trayvon Martin didn’t do anything but walk in the rain with his candy and iced tea cloaked in his Black skin, skin that is not offensive to anyone except someone filled with racial hatred or mental illness. So why on earth are we trying to champion a piece of clothing as the reason behind his getting killed? And explain to me, please, how we are any different from White supremacists when we talk about how a piece of clothing identifies a young Black man?

Take your time. I got a few hours for you to figure out the logistics of that one.

I’ve actually read Facebook status posts where people compare the hoodie to the hijab. Are you kidding me? Since when is the hoodie a religious statement going back thousands of years?

I’ve had people debate me online that the hoodie is the same as someone Black wearing his or her hair in dreadlocks or natural.  Really now? The sacred way that God made you, how S/He decided that a part of your actual body springs out of your head is equal to an item of clothing you can buy down to the Abercrombie and Fitch alongside White kids who have trust funds? Alrighty then.

I understand the long history of racial profiling of Black men in this country. Believe me, I’m aware. My mother told me that, before I was born, my father punched a man in Mississippi years ago for calling him the n-word and to this day, I wonder why he didn’t swing at the end of a rope.

I have two nephews and I worry about them, a lot. I may not ever have been stopped by the police and harassed because I was living and breathing in a Black male body, but as Tayari Jones talked about so movingly and eloquently on NPR a few days ago, I’ve spent my whole life worrying about the safety of young Black men I have loved in different ways.

And it’s because of that love and because of that worry that I’m concerned now that African American communities are championing—and encourage White people to champion—a symbol that just can’t hold the weight of three hundred and ninety three years of ancestral and cultural trauma, ever since the first kidnapped African disembarked in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia and was renamed “slave.”

Those kidnapped Africans weren’t wearing hoodies. Quite possibly, those Africans were naked, and their only crime was being in the wrong village on the wrong day, and they ended up following the tragic, mythic red path onto a slave ship.

We need to focus on the real issue of racial profiling of young Black men and understand that, though someone who was loved by his parents and was doing absolutely no wrong was killed while wearing a hoodie, he wasn’t killed for wearing a hoodie.

Trayvon could have been wearing biker shorts. In fact, he could have been wearing a corporate suit and tie. And you know what? George Zimmerman would have stalked him and killed him anyway. And that’s on him. And that’s on the tragic and brutal history of “race” this country. That’s not on a hoodie.

We need to find a more lasting –and appropriate–symbol to memorialize Trayvon, one that is not associated with actual wrongdoing, because he didn’t do anything wrong. We need to find a better way to honor other blameless young, Black men who were killed as a result of racism, who never did a thing to deserve their sad fate.

The hoodie is not that symbol. But I remain hopeful that we’ll find something else, something better, in the days to come.

.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. dbleu46 permalink
    April 3, 2012 7:51 am

    You are absolutely 100% right. I agree with you.

  2. April 3, 2012 8:20 am

    You had me at hoodie. But I have to disagree with the assertion that Zimmerman would have killed Trayvon even if Trayvon had been wearing a suit. I simply don’t believe that. At least not in the suburbs in the middle of the day. Maybe in another setting but I just can’t. Imagine a coward like Zimmerman taking on a confident man in a suit in the suburbs in the middle of the day.

    To me, the hoodie simply represents a young man who was doing nothing wrong. It doesn’t mean I think he was killed because of the hoodie. The hoodie is just a symbol of that boy. Who could have been my boy. Who has had a few problems in school, like many boys. Who was wandering around, a little aimless, maybe wrestling with the issues of a teenage boy. Who was someone’s baby. To me, the hoodie just helps me keep perspective that this was a child loafing around in a hoodie like any of the millions of kids who wear goodies, black, white, Latino, Asian, or biracial (like mine).

    Sorry you’ve been taking so much backlash. You make excellent points and have a rational opinion that seems to have perspective more than most do. I wonder how people would react if a white woman (like me) posted such views. Worse because it could be misinterpreted as not supporting “the cause?” Or better because it could be twisted into a justification for rackets and profilers? Hard to tell.

  3. April 3, 2012 8:25 am

    Thank you for your clarity and passion.

  4. Tayari Jones permalink
    April 3, 2012 8:37 am

    I have been uneasy from the start with the hoodie as the symbol for the movement. As you said, it wasn’t that the hoodie caused some sort of misunderstanding, and had there been no hoodie, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened. So I am with you on that. I wish something like a black armband could have been worn as the symbol. But now that it is the symbol, is there something that can be done with it?

    As for the idea that people in hoodies don’t get jobs, etc.. Do you mean that if you EVER wear a hoodie, you will not get a job, or if you wear the hoodie to the interview? I can’t imagine that someone who is in the running for the sort of job you’re talking about would not understand that he shouldn’t wear the hoodie to the interview.

    I do think there is a conversation to be had about the ways boys are encouraged to perform masculinity, but I don’t think that this is the time to talk about it. It seems that the link is too easily made between dressing a certain way and being mistaken for a “thug” and being killed. This is why you had to go to such great lengths in your post to make sure that you were not misunderstood. Some topics don’t go well together and blend in a way that we don’t want them to.

    • April 3, 2012 9:14 am

      Hi Tayari:

      With respect, I think that it is always a time to talk about performance of Black manhood, especially as much of the hostile and borderline threatening posturing online concerning this hoodie issue–and what is and is not a proper way to grieve or observe Trayvon’s killing–is directly tied into that performance. And also, with respect, I get to decide when there’s a good time to talk about something. As an American, I have that right, I believe. And reading some of the comments already posted here early in the day, a couple of people agree with me. And a couple don’t. But I think this is a necessary conversation, and I try always to lead with love of Black people, so I think everything will be okay.

      But thank you so much again for your lovely, moving tribute to Trayvon on NPR. It was so important to me, as it was to a lot of other people, of all races.

      Love,
      Honorée

  5. Brigitte Fielder permalink
    April 3, 2012 8:54 am

    While I understand your point, Honoree, and I agree that focus on the hoodie (or any item of clothing, for that matter) might be misplaced (i.e., it’s not the most important factor here, and it certainly isn’t the cause of Trayvon Martin’s death), I do want to draw attention to the fact that we might also talk about class here. I think the hoodie is a marker of class as much as it is a marker of race. You associate the hoodie (as many people do) with young black men. But I also see it as a marker of class. My daddy wears a hoodie. He’s a heavy equipment operator, and has been for 30 years. He drives a payloader and loads salt into salt trucks. He used to drive a snowplow, in Syracuse, NY. While I was growing up, he worked crazy shifts — from 7 pm to 7 am during much of the winter. And from 4 am to noon, when he was on street cleaning duty. Now that he’s 60, he works better hours. He gets to work at 7 am every day. All this means that he’s often headed to work when it’s still dark out, and that he goes to work in the worst weather conditions. He dresses a certain way because he’s working class. His job is physical. He doesn’t have a BA, but he’s worked extremely hard for the last 34 years, in part, so that I could have better opportunities than he did. He’s used his vacation time to work more. He’s never taken a week off of work other than when he was injured and in the hospital, on workers compensation. I’ve worked full-time, through two Masters degrees, but I’ve never worked as hard as my father has. And I probably never will. I’m finishing my PhD this year, and I know that I never would have been able to do many of the things I’ve done to get here if my daddy hadn’t had the job he did. It’s why I had health insurance growing up. And why I could afford to buy books in college. And when I think of a black man wearing a hoodie, it isn’t a young kid, and it isn’t a “thug,” or someone who’s going to rob someplace — it’s my daddy. And I think of this one time, when he took that hoodie off his own body, to give to a homeless man he met on the street. Because that’s what kind of person he is. And my daddy dresses the way he does because of his job. And because he’s not going to put on some nice clothes to go get diesel fuel on them. And sometimes he wears a hoodie. Now I’m not saying that this item of clothing is anything more than it is. I agree that it’s not some great marker of identity, and that it probably didn’t matter what that poor boy was wearing at all. And I’m not disrespecting your right to hate the hoodie as a matter of fashion, in the same way people hate it when certain young men need to pull up their pants already. And I know I’m in no position whatsoever to be calling anyone “bourgeois,” so please know that I’m not saying that either. But, (with all due respect, of course,) I’d like to suggest that we don’t over-criminalize this piece of clothing, either. Ok, the unibomber wore a hoodie. And sometimes folks wear hoodies when they commit crimes. But sometimes a hoodie is just what someone wears to work. And maybe that’s about class. But maybe either embracing or rejecting the hoodie isn’t the point. Sometimes a hoodie is just a hoodie.

    (I write with much respect to you, Honoree, because you always take the time to make us think, and I always appreciate that!)

  6. April 3, 2012 9:03 am

    “I didn’t defend that item of clothing. And you know why? Because I think the championing of the hoodie as a symbol of racial profiling is misguided.”

    Agreed.

    “We need to find a more lasting –and appropriate–symbol to memorialize Trayvon, one that is not associated with actual wrongdoing, because he didn’t do anything wrong.”

    Word.

    “…at the end of the day, the hoodie does a mixed message, sometimes a wrong message.”

    Thanks for having the courage to speak this.

  7. April 3, 2012 10:12 am

    Very well written and thought out, as usual. Thank you for your eloquent voice!

  8. April 3, 2012 10:32 am

    You comments on hoodies reminded me of an onterview with Memphis, TN middle school principal Bobby White whom I heard on the radio just yesterday. White has become known for his creative enforcement of a rule on no sagging pants in his school. While he recognizes that there often is cultural expression in how people dress, he said that he tries to teach the boys and girls in his school how to prepare for being men and women. This means dressing appropriately to be taken seriously at work. And he believes that middle school is work and it is preparation for a successful future.

  9. Andrea Battle permalink
    April 3, 2012 10:34 am

    Please know that all of your followers do not have issues with your statement. Point well taken- keep on writing, my sister. I may not always agree with everything you say – But, I love the way you say it!!! Your words give me z
    A need to think and discuss. And that is important and so are you…

  10. Veronica Jimenez permalink
    April 3, 2012 11:48 am

    I hear you sister..tell it! It’s not the hoodie…it’s the skin color

  11. April 3, 2012 1:21 pm

    A thought provoking piece and one that encourages civil and at times spirited dialogue/discussion. I find it disconcerting when people become malevolent in their responses on points of disagreement. It occurred to me, that when a life is taken and unjustly so–the emotions are so raw and so deeply felt that civil discourse can go by the wayside.

    Two of your passages ring true and wraps it up pretty much for me and that is:

    “Trayvon had every right in this world and the next one, too, to wear his hoodie. He was doing nothing wrong in the least. But it’s not that hoodie that caused Trayvon to be stalked and killed by George Zimmerman.”

    “Trayvon was stalked and killed because of racial profiling. That’s it, plain and simple. And, quite possibly, he might have been stalked and killed because George Zimmerman might not be all there mentally, though that remains to be seen. The hoodie had nothing to do with it.”

    “Color arousal” was a phrase I first read about on Field’s blog and he had given credit to the person who penned it as far as he knew. It is so apropos for this discussion and the phenomena of racial/ethnic profiling. Remember, George Zimmerman told the dispatcher that “they always get away”. THEY meaning…young boys with hoodies or young black men??? I believe the latter.

    Symbols can be important and many are used as a means of relating an idea, passion, lifestyle and political leanings…to name a few, however, I don’t want the hoodie to become a distraction from this awful truth. A young man was stalked and killed and a family has lost their loved one. There’s been no arrest or charges for 36 days and it’s become a partisan political football. These ‘killings’ have been a part of the American fabric for decades with very little attention. Cyberspace social networks, blogs and news outlets are responsible for bringing these injustices to the national and global arenas which is a good thing.

    There are two pictures of Trayvon that I truly like and one is the pose with his maroon Hollister shirt on and the other is with his football uniform. HE has become the symbol for this atrocity and we can’t lose sight of that as we press on for justice–not only for him and his family but for the unknown or future young men of color.

    BTW: Oprah states that she loves teachers and I especially love English teachers/professors. I still remember many of their names from elementary school through college. They taught me how to use language well although there are times when I’m disobedient or forgetful. When writing or expressing myself..I’m reminded of admonishments from previous teachers with phrases like…’you rear children and raise crops’ or ‘let’s find the subject of that dangling participle’. They introduced me to the beauty and power of language and literature. To the Facebook crew…foresight is the way to go…hindsight takes too long!

  12. Joyce Marie Wright permalink
    April 4, 2012 9:50 am

    First for foremost, let me remind you that I love you like cooked food. Im always remarking on twitter how you “never talk with water in your mouth”. However, as regards the hoodie stiuation I would like you to consider the following:
    1. KKK people wear hooded robes to hide them from their devious deeds. Its also true and unfortunate that some young men hide behind hoodies to do their devious deeds. But there is no white person who claims to wear a hooded robe for style while their are many Black people who wear hoodies just for that purpose alone.
    2. No young Black man in his right mind expects to go through customs, or withdraw money from the bank or get a job wearing a hoodie.
    3. I was followed into a building in Brooklyn by a young Black man who was wearing a nice button down shirt and a pair of khakis. He beat the mess out of me and stole my purse after trying to get me to go into a darkened basement. (Maybe he had rape in mind too) I thought a lot about that incident because I realized I had been duped into believing that a certain “attire” spelled trouble. I got “got” because I relied on the safety of appearances rather than my natural instincts for sniffing out trouble.

    Last and not least: Please keep it coming Sis. Honoree; your opinions are always food for thought.

    • April 4, 2012 10:00 am

      Miss Joyce:

      I thank you so much for reading and always, for your opinion. I value it, even when you don’t agree with me. And I am so, so sorry you had to go through that trauma! I just don’t know what to say–I don’t want to pass out platitudes– except, 1) it’s clear that your strong spirit remains undaunted for which I am grateful, and 2) though I know it’s not very Progressive Christian of me, I just prayed that that young Black man is going to Hell for what he did to you; since Devils belong with their own kind, he should be kept in very good company.

      Please keep reading and please keep talking. Good “Home Folk” are hard to find!

      Pax et Amor,
      Honorée

  13. April 5, 2012 11:05 am

    Lately there has been a lot of discussion about kids and teens. Whether good behavior or bad behavior is an indicator of what type of person they will turn out to be.

    There has especially been an argument about what kids wear and how wearing a hoodie indicates they MUST be a criminal because all criminals wear hoodies right? (lol)

    Well if all kids who wear hoodies are criminals, then what the heck are these kids with what they are wearing…….and speaking of which…what in the heck are these kids wearing?

    http://thetop10.squarespace.com/top-10-spooky-emo-kids/2012/4/1/top-10-spooky-emo-kids.html

  14. April 6, 2012 12:22 pm

    Hey there sister. I have to disagree with you. Too often black folks are told that their pain and the way they express it is wrong. I think the hoodie is a perfect symbol. Because although the Unibomber wore one, I have worn one myself. I worked at a seafood distributor, and my hours started at 10pm. It was cold at that time. It was cold inside the facility. It was cold when I left work at 5am and 6am.

    My job supplied us with the hoodies. They were 100% cotton, and absolutely perfect for keeping us employees warm. Our logo was emblazoned proudly on the front and back of the hoodie. This hoodie actually saved me TWICE from getting tickets, as I was pulled over on two separate occasions for weaving slightly – I was tired from working through the night. My hours were 10pm to 5am. When the officer saw my hoodie’s logo, I could visibly see him exhale in relief.

    So the hoodie is not the wicked item of clothing. It’s neutral. Its perfect for it represents the randomness of racial profiling. The hoodie was randomly chosen, and its randomness clearly metaphorizes the randomness of racial profiling. I’ve worn hoodies. My son wears hoodies, my friends wear hoodies, joggers in my city of all races wear hoodies. They should not be lumped with the Unibomber, even though he wore one.

    A black boy walking should not be lumped with black boys who are doing crimes, or anybody who is doing crimes. The choice of the hoodie by black folks as a representation for the randomness of racial profiling is a perfect representation. It forces us to look more deeply at the reasons why we choose who to distrust. And black people made the perfect call by choosing the hoodie. We did the right thing, despite what you think my sister, and I love you. The fact that we chose the hoodie as a representation is the reason why it’s the correct choice. The decision to choose it doesn’t have to be run through the lens of the history of the slave auction block.

    If not the hoodie, then what? A three piece suit? Because there are many, many thugs in corporations dressed in three piece suits. Goldman Sachs right now, has my city in a stranglehold – we are paying interest on a debt that has already been paid in full. All because they tricked our city leaders by offering them “Bond Swaps”. Oakland is being forced to pay this interest over a period of 10 years into 2021, even though the debt was paid in 2007 or thereabouts. The leaders signed on the dotted line and were bamboozled and tricked by those Goldman Sach thugs.

    And yes, a hijab. If our Arabic sisters want to connect to our movement and use this symbol that we chose as a springboard to bring attention to the persecution that they suffer because of their hijab, then its righteous. Because to me, a hijab means nothing. But to them, it means everything and I respect that they have a right, for that reason whether it’s a 1,000 year custom or a 5 year custom.

    Let’s be really honest. It’s terrifying when black people come together on this level. It’s terrifying because America is forced to realize that black people have been pushed past the breaking point. And not only black people. And when that happens, a revolution might take place, which will force everything to change. None of us are safe in the cocoons we thought we built. And the movement is not going to be polite and refined with good manners. Power concedes nothing, and doesnt respond to good manners. But the movement happened back in our history. This is a history lesson. Black men and women were pushed past the point, and had to push back, even if it meant they might get strung up.

    We cant continue to watch as we are being killed in the streets daily. It is a spiritual death which is a worse death. So the hoodie movement is perfect. It has its imperfections, but all movements do. This perfect hoodie movement has forced America, and the world to wake up. And try again to deal with its legacy of hate. Will we Do The Right Thing?

    I wrote a little piece about Geraldo, if you’d like to read it. http://nachalooman.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/geraldos-fears/

  15. April 9, 2012 7:44 pm

    Honore, I am a new reader of your blog and you a like breath of fresh air with a hug dose of common sense. I wish I had known about you the three years I lived in OKC. I, too, have a hard time wrapping my head around the hoodie as a symbol for this senseless tragedy. We have been so very traumatized by our journey on this land mass that is is hard to be objective when everything near and dear to us is either dismissed or appropriated for hugh profits. I feel like we are swimming up stream only this time we have a bunch of well meaning folk of all color and nationalities with us. And I guess that should count for a lot.

    I greatly appreciate having found you and the clarity of your voice and spirit. I am a fan!

    One question for the road: If, as Geraldo so assertively suggested, the hoodie was what caused Trayvon to be shot dead, would he also be dead by now? Just saying…

  16. April 10, 2012 8:50 am

    Pls excuse the typos: You are like a breath of fresh air with a huge dose of common sense.

    • April 10, 2012 9:01 am

      Ms Leasa:

      The typos are ignored. The good words are not!:-) Thank you so much for your kindness, and I hope you return to read again.

      Pax et Amor,
      HFJ

  17. Shayne permalink
    April 10, 2012 9:10 am

    I’m not saing anything is right or wrong. Zimmerman might not have taken the police dispatchers advise but he didn’t do anything illegal. No one knows for sure what the “kid” was up to? But the “kid” jumped Zimmerman. Regardless of these facts you can put blame on both of them if you like. I’m not saying either one was right or wrong but I do have two questions?

    1) If the “kid” didn’t do anything wrong and it was so clear that Zimmerman did….

    WHY DID THE MEDIA ALTER THE FACTS AND LIE IF THE “KID” DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG???

    2) Notice how people are protesting Zimmerman around the country….

    Why don’t you ever see them protesting gangs, criminals or illegals?

    If a young black child is killed by a gang, criminal or illegal you NEVER see the left-wing extemist anti-gun democrats, anti-gun media or inner-city citizens protest against the gangs, criminals or illegals. Might not be the most politically correct thing to say but it is a FACT.

    Why is it that anti-gun obama, biden, holder, pelosi or the medai won’t place any blame on gangs, criminals or illegals???

    Stick to the facts now….

    Why won’t they place any blame on the ones who are causing 99% of the problems???????????

    • April 10, 2012 10:33 am

      Dear Mr. Shayne:

      There are a few issues with your comments.

      First, any American citizen of any race, creed or color, has a right to walk in his or her neighborhood, provided there is not a legal curfew. Trayvon Martin was walking in his own neighborhood.

      Second, said American citizen of any race, creed, or color has a right to keep walking when another person who is not a licensed, trained police officer approaches him or her. Think about the fact that most parents teach their children not to talk to strangers. George Zimmerman was a stranger to Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman did not have an badge or shield, etcetera, that identified him as a someone who had the legal authority to stop random people on the street and question their activities. I know if a strange man stopped me while I was walking in my neighborhood and demanded that I stop and he did not shout, “Police officer! Halt!” and show his badge, I would assume this was an insane person out to hurt me. And again, since I am an American citizen, I do not have the responsibility to stop for some random person who is not a trained, licensed police officer who did not identify himself as such.

      Further, it is not true that you never see see the “left-wing extemist anti-gun democrats, anti-gun media or inner-city citizens” protest against the gangs, criminals or illegals. Actually, there have been many protests against “Black on Black” murder in inner city communities over the years. This continues to be a ongoing concern for those in Black communities. In fact, I’d be more than happy to provide you with documentation of recent protests that have taken place in urban areas all around the country.

      Finally, you are committing what is called a logical fallacy. To wit: Black on Black crime is a very real issue in the Black community. You are absolutely right about that. However, Black on Black crime is an entirely separate issue from the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin by a man who had no legal authority to do so. A child is still dead at the hands of a man who was not a licensed, trained police officer and who had no legal right to stop a child walking on the street, especially a child who was not under legal curfew. One issue does not cancel out the other. Thus, we can protest Black on Black crime and in addition, protest the killing of an unarmed child at the hands of man who was not a licensed, trained police officer, and who did not have the legal authority to follow anyone, much less shoot him dead. This is why the 911 dispatcher told him not to follow.

      I say all this with the greatest of human love and respect.

      Pax et Amor,
      HFJ

  18. April 10, 2012 6:08 pm

    Wonderful, intelligent perspective. Trayvon’s tragic death will either set the American dialog on race back another 100 years, or move us forward by reminding us that “post-racial” is a myth at best in the United States. The best spokespeople on race seem always to be those who have suffered most from its cruelties.

    That said, living near the ocean, I always keep a hoodie near at hand.

  19. valetta1918 permalink
    April 11, 2012 8:46 am

    “the hoodie was not a great item of clothing for professional advancement. That young Black men wearing this clothing weren’t going to walk into a job interview and come away with employment and as a result, economic power.” How many men of any color go on job interviews wearing sportswear? What’s your source for this assertion?

  20. valetta1918 permalink
    April 11, 2012 8:52 am

    “…the hoodie was not a great item of clothing for professional advancement.” And what has that got to do with this boy’s murder? “…Black men wearing this clothing weren’t going to walk into a job interview and come away with employment and as a result, economic power.” This young man was not coming from a job interview, was he? And what might vigilantes be fearful of, tomorrow? Sneakers? Sunglasses? And should we diatribe about our wardrobes or about stopping vigilantes from hunting our sons?

  21. April 13, 2012 1:40 pm

    i love wearing black hoodies also I love going to college Oklahoma City Community College. Why did it have to be a death of a child , who happened to be wearing a black hoodie, to die before the world to listen. Let’s say Trayvon Martin had on a suit on that night. The coward still would had run him down, jump on him, scream for help & and then shot Martin the chest. WOW!!!!! Where do they do that at? My bad, in the Sunshine State of the Stand Your Ground.. When the law is only protecting a small % of the people who live in the state. Half of the people cant vote, the other’ s are in jail, dead or in prison. I am not the smartest person but I will know if a deck of cards are not even. The law is Wack!!!! MAKE MY DAY law also is weak….Black people are dying under both laws.

  22. April 22, 2012 1:02 am

    I think this piece is highly confused.
    Yes do not wear a hoodie to an interview.
    When getting money at a bank, drop the hoodie so your face is not obscured.
    If you are walking down the street and minding your own business, wear a hoodie if you please, no big issue.

    Anyway – not wisdom just personal preferences masquerading as wisdom. Arrgh

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