Geraldo Rivera's Obscene Defense of Trayvon Martin's Death: 'The Hoodie is as Responsible as the Murderer'

Fox News finally decided to cover the racist murder of sixteen-year-old Trayvon Martin, and law enforcement's grievously flawed "investigation" of the cold-blooded killing, that has had the rest of the nation up in arms. But rather than implicate the racism we all know fueled the disgraceful lack of concern for a young, Black life, Fox News blamed Martin for his own murder. Martin's mistake, Geraldo Rivera said on Fox and Friends this morning, was to leave his house wearing a hoodie:

 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.

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. In other, more obvious words, it's a lot less the hoodie, and a lot more the bias attached to the color of the face underneath it, that causes hate crimes. 

Rivera, however, seems to think that wearing a hoodie is like shouting "I'm a gangsta!" Surely, he has never worn one:

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.

If there is a surveillance camera around and someone is committing a robbery, pulling the hood of a sweatshirt up onto one's head may be a good way to avoid being caught on camera, like wearing gloves is a good way to avoid leaving fingerprints. But Rivera isn't telling people not to wear gloves in the winter.  Moreover, there is no way even Fox News can claim, with any degree of intelligence, that hoodies are associated with crime when white people wear them. If they were, the rate of incarceration for emo kids would be out of control. 

Idiotically, Rivera goes on to say that "You can't rehabilitate the hoodie," as if the garment of clothing sold in every single store prepared for chilly weather has some past association with a terrible act.  But it's a hoodie, not a swastika. What needs to be rehabilitated is our notion of "suspicion" (and plenty of other racial stereotypes), so that race is no longer a factor in who's "up to no good." 

Read/watch Rivera's full 'hoodies-are-so-scary' rant here

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at March 23, 2012, 5:47am