Geraldo Rivera, Saying Kids Of Color Shouldn’t Wear Hoodies Is Like Telling Girls Not To Wear Short Skirts
The tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the unarmed kid who simply went to go buy some candy and then found himself being gunned down by George Zimmerman, continues to unearth a wealth emotions in parents. While the incident trumps the ridiculous buzzword ofÂ “post-racial,” a recent comment byÂ Geraldo Rivera reveals a victim-blaming rhetoric that we hear often about our daughters and their safety. You see, according to Rivera, if children of color don’t want to be shot — they shouldn’t wear hoods!
Rivera relayed a very important message to parents on Fox News today:
“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 insisted that he yells at his son Cruz for wearing that “damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles.” He adds that wearing a certain article of clothing “allowed” this murder:
“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…”
Such language surrounding clothing as an invitation is hardly new, as young ladies have been hearing this rationalization for their own rapes and sexual assaults for decades. The whole “but you wore that” script doesn’t hold up much on that end of violence either, and so applying this warped logic to kids of color is just as faulty. People are raped when they are in the presence of a rapist — end of story. And Trayvon was murdered, it appears, because he had the vast misfortune of being stereotyped by a racist neighborhood watch volunteer. Both instances are exceedingly dangerous to our children — no hoodie or mini skirt required.
There is no “safe uniform” when it comes to keeping children and teenagers safe from violence, only misconceptions that provide an illusion of safety to those unconcerned with tackling the real issue at hand. Stereotypes and myths surrounding violence are what need battling to keep kids safe, not wardrobe choices.