Geraldo Rivera gave his opinion on Trayvon Martin’s murder this morning. As the father of a brown boy himself, he feels that his advice on how to avoid being gunned down in the street as a black or Latino teenager is particularly effective: just don’t wear a hoodie. In fact, while Rivera said on Fox News that Zimmerman should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, he later tweeted, that “his hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman.” Hunh?

When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly 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 what’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association? It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone stickin’ up a 7-11, the kid’s 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 wanna? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action.

…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, you know God bless him, he was an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.

I’m going to take a moment to give Geraldo the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s just participating in shock journalism; it’s easier to believe that these statements are mere attention grabbers considering that this is the man who famously appeared on television with a broken nose after a brawl with Neo-Nazis and orchestrated the most hyped and least interesting investigative journalism story ever by opening Al Capone’s Vaults on live television.

Ok, that moment of benefit of doubt just passed.

Here I’ve been all this time thinking that hoodies do things like keep people warm and protect them from rain (which, interestingly, was the weather on the evening of Trayvon’s murder) and what do you know — they’re actually gangsta wannabe wear. Not only that, but apparently fitting the disgusting stereotype of a “bad guy” — being young, black, and male — isn’t enough to trigger an aggressive murderous maniac. It’s his hoodie, not his race or gender or this country’s long history of connecting both to criminal behavior, that got Trayvon killed. And he could have prevented the entire incident by simply not wearing a hoodie, because it’s normal for high-functioning American adults to make assumptions about people based on race or gender or hoodies and then resolve those assumption with a gun. Thanks Geraldo. Race problem solved!

Oh, and he also warned those of you participating in the Million Hoodie Marches to leave your hoodies at home, lest you become the victims of completely reasonable fashion profiling. I’m not kidding. Watch the video of his appearance below for more.

What’s your take on these remarks?

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  • Bridgette

    Trayvon could have been wearing a prep-school blazer and tie w/penny loafers and I truly believe that he still would have been pegged as “suspicious”. He wasn’t wearing the wrong clothes;he was wearing the “wrong” skin color.

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